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Procurement Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor or master’s degree in business or applied sciences
Average Salary: $89,160
Job Outlook: Good

Procurement managers, also known as purchasing managers, are responsible for buying the best quality goods and services for their company at economical prices. They do this by finding domestic and offshore suppliers, studying inventory, and keeping sales records. It is important for procurement managers to have exceptional knowledge about the goods and services they are buying.

Depending on the industry they are employed in, procurement managers may be known as merchandise managers, retail buyers, and purchasing agents.

One of the most critical functions of a procurement manager is to evaluate suppliers based on several factors that are important to the company such as selling price, cost effectiveness, etc. They may also have to travel to attend trade shows and conferences for networking with suppliers and distributors.

Most procurement managers work under deadlines since their activities affect the final product chain.

Education and Training Requirements

Many employers now prefer to hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business, engineering, or applied science. Large manufacturing companies hire procurement managers who have work experience and a master’s degree. Those without required academic qualifications can start work in a production unit as trainees or procurement clerks but a graduate degree is required to advance in this career.

Several certifications are available for procurement managers who meet work experience and educational qualifications of the awarding associations. Continuing education is very important for job advancement in this profession. This can be done through seminars and continuing education programs in subjects like supply chain management.

Getting the Job

Most procurement managers typically start out as procurement agents or assistant buyers and later get promoted. Those with a master’s degree in engineering or supply chain management have a better chance of starting their career as procurement managers.

You can apply via job boards or online job classifieds for available positions. Shortlisted candidates appear for an interview where they are tested for their technical expertise and communication skills.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development

Purchase related jobs are expected to grow 7% by 2018. Those employed in wholesale, retail, and farm produce industries will experience a better growth rate compared to those in automotive or information technology sectors.
Procurement managers with certifications and advanced degrees will have the best chances of getting jobs. Those interested in top level purchasing jobs, especially in governmental offices, should consider getting a degree in business administration.

With the increasing reach of internet, procurement managers may have to spend a lot of time online looking for suppliers or bidding on contracts.

Top level jobs include positions like material management directors or production directors.

Working Conditions and Environment

Work conditions are quite comfortable with procurement managers working from air conditioned office environments. They usually have longer work hours than the traditional 40 hour week due to production deadlines or conferences. Late nights and weekend work is fairly common in this profession, especially during peak season.

Travel is required for attending conferences and meeting buyers. Sometimes, procurement managers may have to travel to foreign countries as well.

Salary and Benefits

As of May 2008, the median annual wage for procurement managers was $89,160. Those employed in grocery stores and produce-related businesses earn less compared with their counterparts in electronic markets or federal organizations.

Benefits include pension plans, health insurance, sick leave, and vacations. It is important to mention that some employers may cancel vacations during peak season.

Where to Go for More Information

American Purchasing Society
8 E Galena Blvd., Ste 203
Aurora, IL 60506
(630) 859-0250

The Association for Operations Management
8430 West Bryn Mawr Ave., Ste. 1000
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 444-2742

National Institute of Governmental Purchasing
151 Spring St.
Herndon, VA 20170
(800) 367-6447

Additional topics

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