What you need to pay top talent in manufacturing, procurement and supply chain

Posted on 7 Nov 2022 by The Manufacturer
Partner Content

The UK manufacturing sector is experiencing a range of challenges, from supply chain disruptions to the ongoing impact of Brexit and other geopolitical turbulence, as well as rising inflation and business costs.

All of this has had a big knock-on effect for hiring in the space, as candidates become increasingly reluctant to move roles for fear of being ‘last in first out’. This has compounded the existing technical skills gap and talent shortage in manufacturing.

Against this backdrop, employers can’t afford to be underpaying current talent or offering subpar salaries to potential employees. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to average low, medium and high salary ranges for the most popular roles in the manufacturing and procurement and supply chain spaces. Plus, we’ve outlined the most competitive and in-demand skills that employers are looking for right now.

For an introductory discussion about your hiring needs, get in touch with one of our specialists.

Manufacturing: Salaries for the top 10 most popular roles

  1. Engineering Project Manager: £50,000 – £60,000
  2. Maintenance Engineer – Mechanical: £35,000 – £45,000 / Maintenance Engineer – Electrical: £38,000-£45,000 (+10-20% if shift work)
  3. Health and Safety Manager: £48,000 – £70,000
  4. Manufacturing/Production Supervisor: £38,000 – £40,000 (+10-20% if shift work)
  5. Mechanical Project Engineer: £38,000 – £50,000
  6. Operations Manager: £55,000 – £75,000
  7. Production Manager: £45,000 – £60,000
  8. Production Quality Supervisor: £35,000 – £45,000
  9. Production Engineer: £35,000 – £48,000
  10. Quality Engineer: £35,000 – £50,000

(Please note: Some of these roles will also come with vehicle or car allowances. Many manager roles will also have direct reports in structure.)

Ruth Hancock, Operating Director, Michael Page Manufacturing.

“It’s critical to ensure that your hiring is efficient, fast, and well thought-out. To attract the best talent over competitors, we would recommend that you map out your process at the very start, ensuring excellent service and candidate engagement all the way from job advert to onboarding.” said Ruth Hancock, Operating Director, Michael Page Manufacturing.

Manufacturing: In-demand skills

In this manufacturing hiring landscape, it’s critical to understand the most competitive skill sets that employers are looking for. Here are the most valuable skills in today’s manufacturing market:

Supply chain management

Supply chain challenges, from sourcing through to shipping, have consistently made the headlines over the last year. As the cascading effects of these issues become clearer, the professionals most in demand are those with the ability not only to manage supply chains effectively, but to identify and respond to emerging problems.

Health and safety

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in 2020, health and safety took centre stage. Safety is now central to effective planning in the manufacturing and supply chain sector, with a corresponding increase in demand for health and safety professionals. For more insights into the health and safety landscape, check out our article on career development in the space.

Agile planning and problem solving

The manufacturing sector has never been so changeable and fast-moving. Businesses are looking for candidates who can bring new solutions to the table, react fast, and use data-driven methods to overcome the unpredictable.


Sustainability has risen to the top of the business agenda across all sectors, and manufacturing is no exception. Individuals with an understanding of the environmental impact of manufacturing processes, and the ability to contribute to sustainability initiatives through technology, have therefore become highly valuable.

For more on this, check out the highlights of the Sustainability Symposium, where Michael Page’s Joe Walton provided key insights into maintaining staff engagement with the sustainability agenda. Plus, Michael Page Manufacturing’s Operating Director Ruth Hancock recently discussed her experience of judging the Sustainable Manufacturing award at The Manufacturer’s MX Awards.

Cross functional capabilities

As the use of technology in manufacturing continues to evolve, new job roles have emerged, and the need for workers to be able to pick up tasks from co-workers in different positions has grown. This may necessitate upskilling and training, but the long-term implications will be a more capable and engaged workforce.

Joe Walton, Director, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain.

“Many of our clients are successfully navigating the shortage of qualified candidates on the market by revaluating their requirements, hiring for will rather than skill, emphasising training for new hires, and being willing to look outside of their immediate subsectors.” said Joe Walton, Director, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain.

Want to learn more about attracting in-demand talent? Check out our Employee Value Proposition eBook.

Procurement and Supply Chain: Salaries for the top 10 most popular roles

  1. Head of Supply Chain: £75,000 – £85,000
  2. S&OP Lead: £70,000 – £90,000
  3. Purchasing Manager: £55,000 – £65,000
  4. Category Manager: £65,000 – £75,000
  5. Supply Chain Manager: £60,000 – £70,000
  6. Planning Manager: £50,000 – £60,000
  7. Head of Procurement: £80,000 – £100,000
  8. Head of Demand Planning: £70,000 – £80,000
  9. Supply Planning Manager: £65,000 – £75,000
  10. Senior Buyer: £38,000 – £50,000

(Please note: Some of these roles will also come with vehicle or car allowances. Many manager roles will also have direct reports in structure.)

“Salaries have risen significantly due to the shortage of top talent, competition in the market, and the new level of appreciation that many companies now have for what a well-run supply chain can deliver.

Holly Antonia Butler, Manager, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain

“Progressive companies are also realising that to secure a quality hire and avoid buy-backs, they need to put their best offer forward, rather than try to negotiate a lower rate. Additionally, it is important to be aware that flexibility and hybrid working allowances are now the most important success factors for attracting top talent in procurement and supply chain.” said Holly Antonia Butler, Manager, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain.

Procurement and supply chain: In-demand skills

At Michael Page, we saw that the pandemic resulted in swift changes to consumer needs, and fast growth in sectors like pet care, personal protective equipment, packaging, horticultural and food. To take advantage of this dynamic market, employers have focused on attracting candidates with the right skills to capitalise on this.

Here are some of the most in-demand skills in the consumer and life science and industrial spaces recruitment markets right now:

Consumer and life sciences

Sales and operations planning (S&OP)

Over the past 12 months, there has been a major increase in FMCG businesses seeking candidates with strong S&OP and integrated business planning (IBP) experience as they look to optimise performance and ensure collaboration across all functions of their businesses.

Stakeholder management

Stakeholder management and the ability to build relationships with internal stakeholders and external suppliers have become truly essential in today’s market. As relationships become ever more significant, businesses need to move quickly during recruitment processes to find candidates with these in-demand skills.

Negotiation – global sourcing

Negotiation is a key attribute of any procurement professional. Being able to effectively communicate to internal stakeholders, suppliers, and global parties in order to achieve the desired outcome of a mutually satisfactory agreement is vital.

This is true whether negotiating acquisition costs, working to achieve added value such as reduced lead or cycle times, or resolving conflicts with different parties to reach a mutual understanding. With recent changes affecting global procurement following Brexit, negotiation skills have become more in-demand for many businesses.


If COVID-19 and the on-going impact of Brexit since 2016 have taught us anything, it’s that procurement and supply chain professionals need to be adaptable when dealing with global supply chains and new tariffs, and renegotiating trade agreements or regional climate events. Candidates who show obvious signs of adaptability and flexibility will be strong choices for your procurement team.

System development, integration, and implementation

Successful system development and integration is essential both for B2B communication and internal cooperation within any business. A system integrator specialises in implementing, planning, coordinating, scheduling, testing, improving, and sometimes maintaining IT systems.

When bringing in these new systems, the longer the project takes, the more swiftly issues can arise, so it’s important to hire experienced professionals. Keeping integration projects short improves success rates, as does an agile working methodology that caters to changing requirements.

Infrastructure development

Robust supply chains have become front of mind for many businesses ever since the pandemic. There has never been a need to manage such a vast array of complex and ‘unknown’ scenarios, and this is resulting in fierce competition for supply chain talent.

Organisations are having to quickly upskill their people in modern supply chain techniques, specifically in collaborative and watertight S&OP/IBP processes and import/export knowledge. The evolution of hybrid working has also increased the importance of strong people managers to lead supply chain functions, facilitate onboarding and upskilling, and drive high-performing teams.



In such a competitive market, it’s essential that the professionals you hire can hit the ground running and transform the way your business operates. Skilled procurement specialists should be able to adapt to a shifting landscape, developing a function that is agile, aligned to stakeholder and business needs, and equipped to manage future economic and business changes.

By attracting and retaining professionals who can transform your procurement and strategic capabilities, your organisation will gain a big competitive advantage.

Continuous improvement

Procurement functions should continuously pursue cost and efficiency gains. To do this, you will need professionals able to work innovatively and collaboratively with suppliers, stakeholders, and business partners. Top candidates will be able to identify opportunities for supply chain improvements and turn those opportunities into action plans.

Low-cost supply chain management and onshoring activity

Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic challenged every organisation that relies on extended, global supply chains. Many sectors have re-analysed risk within the supply base to counter shortages in shipping, over capacity low-cost country manufacturing, and technical issues on re-starting facilities.

Onshoring is a popular solution, whether it entails switching to local sourcing or dual sourcing, and businesses therefore need sourcing professionals to support this onshoring activity. The relevant skillsets combine sourcing, supplier development, and capacity management (planning) among others, to deliver on these challenging projects.

S&OP development

An effective sales and operations planning (S&OP) process is key to maintaining a competitive advantage in today’s business landscape. Supply-chain focused companies use S&OP to improve overall business performance by enabling value-based management and ensuring optimal overall results.

Risk mitigation

Effective risk mitigation stops risks from turning into problems that negatively impact the business operation and the bottom line. Every procurement and supply chain team needs professionals with experience in this area and the ability to make contingency plans.

Jonathan Weller, Business Director, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain

“We have seen a huge focus on leadership roles within supply chain, with business leaders prioritising candidates with strong engagement skills, and ability to drive sustainable change.” said Jonathan Weller, Business Director, Michael Page Procurement and Supply Chain.

The Michael Page Manufacturing and Procurement and Supply Chain teams specialise in sourcing top talent for market leading employers. Our consultants are experts in their markets and have access to an expansive network of candidates.

To arrange an discussion around your talent needs, please get in touch with the team today.