Job Description of a Purchasing Manager: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for purchasing managers. Get the facts about education requirements, key duties, salary, and potential job growth to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Procurement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Purchasing Manager Do?

Purchasing managers oversee purchasing for businesses or organizations, directly negotiating with suppliers and coordinating the activities of lower-level employees involved in the process, including buyers and purchasing officers. These managers identify vendors and plan strategies to make sure that the organization procures the best products and services at the best prices. In addition, they are responsible for keeping records of all purchases and deliveries.

Learn about some job skills for this position, as well as education requirements and the typical earnings of purchasing managers from the following table:

Degree Required Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Business management
Supply chain management
Key Skills Skilled negotiator, detail oriented, math skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1%*
Median Salary (2015) $108,120*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Purchasing Manager?

As a purchasing manager, you would run the acquisition department for a business or retail establishment. When something needs to be purchased for internal use or for resale, you or someone in your department handles this transaction. You may work at a farm, an office, a factory or a utility company. You might also find a position working in the government.

What Would I Be Doing?

The key duty that you can expect to have is locating the materials needed for your company to sell at the lowest price for the best quality. This will include meeting with suppliers, dealing with the logistics of shipping the materials, negotiating for price and keeping your inventory at the correct amount. On the resale side of this equation, a buyer needs to be able to pinpoint what items will sell well for their company in order to decide what to buy and in what quantity. Any mistake here can have negative results for a company's bottom line.

You may also need to stay aware of the financial market and your competitors' pricing. You may have to travel for business meetings with suppliers to tour the facilities that produce your products and attend any trade shows or conferences related to your industry. As a manager, your duties can include overseeing purchasing associates or buyers, delegating responsibilities and meeting with other department heads to discuss potential purchasing needed.

What Education Do I Need?

Your educational requirements may vary depending on the size of the company for which you work, as well as the type of industry you work in. Many companies will require a bachelor's or master's degree in business.

Several colleges offer a major or emphasis in supply chain management. Also, you can earn a post-degree certificate in purchasing and supply management at some colleges. Some of the classes that you may take include math, accounting, economics, inventory management, marketing, communications, logistics management, quality management and purchasing.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

Again, where you work will have the biggest impact on what you could expect to earn. The amount of experience that you have in purchasing can influence your salary as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the 10th-90th percentile of purchasing managers earned $60,830-$172,950 a year as of May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Instead of working as a purchasing manager, you could look for a different kind of manager position. For instance, as a sales manager, you would be in charge of the sales staff at an organization. Your job would be to analyze sales data and then use that information to develop and implement profit-increasing sales strategies. Sales managers usually need at least a bachelor's degree. Alternatively, you could become a risk manager, which is a financial management position that involves analyzing market trends to identify areas of uncertainty and finding ways to guard against risk-related financial losses, such as those that result from currency fluctuations. The minimum educational requirement is a bachelor's degree.

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