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Purchasing Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in business related field or manufacturing and engineering. Advanced training in procurement and supply chain management.
Average Salary: $89,000 per year
Job Outlook: Fair

Purchasing managers are responsible for the supplies, services, goods, inventory, and products purchased used by internal employees or customers. They also perform management functions by overseeing junior buyers, purchasing clerks and procurement agents. Purchasing managers work with external partners of the organization such as vendors, suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

The role of a purchasing manager is critical to the success of the organization because their primary duty is to find goods and services at the lowest price possible without sacrificing service and quality. Much of their time is spent managing relationships with existing partners or establishing new relationships with potential vendors.

Purchasing manager positions can be found throughout most organizations across the complete spectrum of the economy. Approximately 40% work for wholesale and manufacturing companies.

Education and Training Requirements

Most organizations require purchasing directors to have a bachelor’s degree in a business, engineering or manufacturing related discipline. On the job training is a big part of the job in order to keep up with industry trends and demands. There are several procurement and purchasing agencies and organizations that provide on-going training in procurement strategies, supply chain management, and technology.

Getting the Job

In order to become a purchasing manager one must possess experience in purchasing and procurement. It is also helpful to have industry experience such as wholesale, retail, and manufacturing, depending on the particular job.
Most purchasing managers start out as entry level buyers and work their way up to management as they gain experience.

Students with bachelor and master’s degrees in business, decision science, supply chain management, economics, manufacturing, and engineering have the best chances to break into the field.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

A career as a purchasing manager offers a lot of growth because most organizations have a need for a purchasing manager. They also possess highly sought after skills such as management, leadership, budgetary, and decision-making.

Many purchasing managers go on to higher levels of management within their respective organization. There are mid and upper level purchasing managers in large organizations so the opportunity to grow as a professional is available. Purchasing managers at the highest level can become purchasing directors or move into executive leadership roles.

Working Conditions and Environment

Working environment varies by industry although most of the job is performed in an office environment. Some purchasing managers spend time in the field especially if they are farming and manufacturing purchasing managers. The position requires normal workweeks although it is common for a purchasing manager to spend time working on weekends and evenings. The job is considered stressful at times due to the high level of responsibility placed on the purchasing manager and their importance to the organization.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a purchasing manager with a degree is $89,000 per year. Mangers also generally have health benefits, retirement pensions, as well as vacation and sick days. Purchasing managers in federal and large private corporations tend to earn the highest salaries.

Where to Go for More Information

American Purchasing Society
P.O. Box 256
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 859-0250

Institute for Supply Management
PO Box 22160
Tempe, AZ 85285

National Institute of Government Purchasing
151 Spring Street
Herndon, VA 20170-5223

Additional topics

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