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Category Manager - External Workforce & Services

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

At Northwestern Mutual, we believe relationships are built on trust. That our lives and our work matter. These beliefs launched our company over 160 years ago. Today, they're just a few of the reasons why people choose to build careers at Northwestern Mutual.

We're strong and growing. In a company with such a long and storied history, this may be the most exciting and important time to be a part of Northwestern Mutual. We're strong, innovative and growing.

We invest in our people. We provide opportunities for employees to grow themselves, their career and in turn, our business.

We care. We make a positive difference in our communities. Nationally, thousands have benefitted from our support of research and programs to fight childhood cancer. Each year, our Foundation, employees and financial representatives donate time, talent and financial support to causes they're passionate about.

What you will do:

In this ro, you will be part of the Sourcing & Procurement team, with the mission to enhance the value realized from suppliers through the proactive and strategic management of supplier risk, performance and cost for the benefit of Northwestern Mutual and our policy holders.

How you will do it:

You will be responsible for contingent labor and professional services spend and will lead strategic sourcing initiatives across the business. You will lead efforts to optimize the supply base, generate cost savings and support digital transformation initiatives. Specifically, you will;

  • Develop/manage new and ongoing relationships with business partners and vendors to build long-term business alignment;

  • Influence those interacting with vendors on management and assessment of vendor performance;

  • Implement the sourcing strategy for contingent labor and professional services engagements;

  • Develop negotiation strategies using cost/benefit analysis, should-cost modeling, market research, etc.;

  • Lead negotiation efforts on new deals with cross-functional teams to achieve optimum results (i.e. costs, quality, terms);

  • Manage, minimize and mitigate supply/contractual/regulatory risk partnering with key functions where appropriate (Legal, Compliance, Data Privacy, Cybersecurity, Audit, etc.)

  • Anticipate client needs and recommend options that align with strategic direction, using marketplace and category knowledge;

  • Act as a trusted advisor providing thought leadership and consistent customer service whilst delivering qualitative and quantitative value to the organization;

  • Influence key groups with sound reasoned recommendations, bring to bear key category management and strategic sourcing concepts (RFx sourcing, total cost of ownership, build-vs-buy decisions);

  • work in a highly collaborative environment with senior leaders and other internal customers/partners (e.g. Legal, Compliance, Risk); and

  • support ongoing innovation and process improvement, identifying efficiencies in vendor-related processes and practices.

Bring Your Best! What this role needs:

  • Bachelor's Degree with an emphasis in Business, Accounting/Finance, MIS, Engineering or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and work experience

  • Experience in supplier management, category management, strategic sourcing, and vendor management;

  • Experience with contract negotiation, contract development, and supplier risk mitigation

  • Strong negotiation, communication, planning, project management, and influencing skills, as well as ability to quickly and creatively respond to change.

  • Strong customer focus and interpersonal skills

  • Excellent research, analytical, problem solving, planning and organization skills required as well as a high degree of personal initiative and motivation


Great pay package, 401K, Company sponsored retirement plan, Educational assistance, Performance based incentive pay, Medical, dental and vision insurance, Parental leave, Caregiver time off….and more



Grow your career with a best-in-class company that puts our client’s interests at the center of all we do. Get started now!

W e are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

If you work or would be working in Colorado or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.