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Procurement Clerks Job Description, Career as a Procurement Clerks, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High School Diploma

Salary: Median- $15.91 per hour

Employment Outlook: Fair

Procurement clerks are employed to prepare purchase orders for desired items. They send the orders to suppliers. It is also their duty to notify the relevant department at their organization of the placement of orders. Their main job is to ensure that the purchase arrives on schedule as well as meets the specifications of the purchaser.

Procurement clerks generally process requests for purchases. They have to first find out if any of the requested items are still available from the inventory, and then prepare the invitation-to-bid forms and contact the suppliers. They must compare prices and expected delivery dates proposed by suppliers and choose the best bid. On approval by the organization, clerks then place the purchase orders for procurement of necessary supplies.

Procurement clerks are required to keep track of orders as well as determine the cause of any delays occurring during the process. They must be in touch with suppliers and ensure against any delay in delivery. In case of any shortage or delay in delivery of items, they are required to resolve such problems as efficiently as possible. When the delivery of products is made, a procurement clerk matches the purchase order with the shipment, notifies vendors in cases where invoices are not received, and verifies the billed amount with goods received. They are also required to forward invoices to relevant departments.

Procurement clerks in some organizations are required to monitor inventory control systems. They have to oversee in-house inventory movements of the organization together with preparing inventory transfer forms for bookkeeping purposes.

Education and Training Requirements

For the position of procurement clerks, most employers prefer applicants having a high school diploma or an equivalent degree. However, a bachelor’s degree or certifications are necessary for higher level positions.

Procurement clerks who have a high school diploma or a combination of education and experience in a related field are highly valued by employers. They are generally trained on the job under close supervision of more experienced employees.

Those applying for positions of procurement clerk must have knowledge about clerical duties such as managing files and recordkeeping. Good communication skills and grasp of mathematical concepts and their applications is desired by employers. As most jobs involve use of computers, a candidate must also be efficient in handling computer applications. A knack for strategic planning and resource allocation is also required for the job.

Getting the Job

Almost 23% of procurement clerks are employed with the federal government. There are a large number of other organizations that require procurement clerks for their organization’s activities. Vacancy alerts and job advertisements are regularly listed in employment journals and online job portals.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

A procurement clerk who obtains a bachelor’s degree has a better chance of advancement through the ranks. Employers prefer such candidates since they generally have a better understanding of contracts and purchasing methods.

Certifications may help a procurement clerk validate his/her knowledge and skills in handling advanced purchasing tasks. Hence, certification programs offer procurement clerks a chance of advancement to levels of higher responsibility.

There are a number of recognized credentials for procurement clerks and purchasing agents. The Institute for Supply Management confers the designations of Certified Purchasing Manager and Certified Professional in Supply Management. The American Purchasing Society confers titles like Certified Purchasing Professional and Certified Professional Purchasing Manager. The Association for Operations Management is another body that offers programs in Certified Supply Chain Professional and Certified in Production and Inventory Management after completion of training. There are a large number of other certification programs that help augment the career prospects of procurement clerks. These designations and certifications are awarded only after a candidate satisfies the educational and experience criteria and completes exams.

Employment figures for procurement clerks are expected to undergo little or no change in coming years. With the advent of computers, increased automation, and offshoring of such processes, procurement clerks may slowly become redundant in some big organizations. However, there will always be need for such skills in medium and smaller organizations.

Working Conditions

Procurement clerks generally work a normal 40-hour week. They mostly work in areas which are clean, well lit, and relatively quiet. However, since the job entails sitting in front of computers for long periods of time, procurement clerks may suffer from eyestrain and headaches. They may also be required to work overtime or in varied shifts.

Where to Go for More Information

America’s Career InfoNet

O*NET OnLine, Occupational Information Network.

Earnings and Benefits

The median hourly salary for procurement clerks in May 2006 was $15.91. The hourly wages for procurement clerks generally range from $12.65 to $19.41. Procurement clerks working for the federal government earned average annual salary of $41,716 in 2007.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness