Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents essential career information:
- 2011 median pay: $97,130
- 2010, number of jobs: 487,200
- Employment growth forecast, 2010-2020: 7 percent
- Entry level education requirements: Managers need a bachelor’s degree
Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents; what they do:
When a corporate or government office needs supplies or equipment, they call on their purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents. Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents evaluate vendors’ prices and product quality and negotiate for the best deal on behalf of their employer or client.
Since many companies order supplies only as they need them, a purchasing agent needs to choose a very reliable supplier. Any delay can wreak havoc on a production schedule.
A procurement specialist career includes purchasing raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing. A purchasing agent career includes buying items for resale to consumers after analyzing consumer trends, sales, price and the suppliers’ merchandise quality.
Purchasing manager careers include overseeing the work of purchasing agents and procurement specialists, including wholesale or retail procurement managers.
Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents job duties:
- Interviewing vendors
- Attending meetings, trade shows and conferences to keep abreast of trends and network with suppliers
- Visiting vendors’ plants and distribution centers
- Creating delivery schedules
- Analyzing proposals, financial reports and other data
- Keeping and reviewing records on pricing, inventory, product quality and more
- Monitoring contracts to ensure a company meets all stipulations and to determine whether they should make alterations
Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents job titles:
- Purchasing Administrator
- Director of Purchasing
- Purchasing Supervisor
- Commodity Manager
- Materials Manager
- Merchandise Manager
- Procurement Manager
- Wholesale Buyer
- Retail Buyer
Purchasing Managers, Buyers and Purchasing Agents Education, Certification and License Requirements
People seeking a purchasing manager career typically need a bachelor’s degree and work experience. Many companies require only a high school diploma for purchasing agent positions, however some large distributors and stores prefer to hire people with a bachelor’s degree for purchasing agent jobs.
Many manufacturing companies seek candidates with a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in business, engineering, economics or in one of the applied sciences.
Industry organizations offer various certifications for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents based on experience, education and test performance. These certifications include certified professional in supply management, certified purchasing professional, certified professional purchasing manger and certified supply chain professional. The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing also offers certifications as professional public buyer and a public purchasing officer.
Career Advancement Opportunities
A master’s degree and experience can lead to employment as a top-level purchasing manager.
Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents programs cover subjects such as:
- Purchasing and business management
- International business
- Supply chain management
- Marketing management
- Strategic planning
Purchasing Managers, Buyers and Purchasing Agents Job Outlook
Forecast: 7 percent employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents. Job growth varies depending on the industry and the specialization of the purchasing agent.
Health care, computer systems design and related services should see growth in the need for procurement managers as needs decline in agriculture, government and manufacturing.
Purchasing Managers, Buyers and Purchasing Agents Salary
- 2011 median annual wage: $97,130
- 2011, workers at the 75th percentile annual wage: $126,240
- 2011, workers at the 25th percentile annual wage: $72,910
Purchasing Managers, Buyers and Purchasing Agents Major Employers
- Federal executive branch
- Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
- Local government
- Navigational, measuring, electro-medical and control instruments manufacturing