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Procurement Manager Jobs: Career Options, Duties and Requirements

Jun 27, 2021

A procurement manager has a number of career options when it comes to finding employment in different industries. While the most common role involves managing companies and enterprises, a procurement manager might also be employed by the federal government, the instruments manufacturing sector, or in the aerospace product and parts industry. Prior to gaining employment, individuals must hold a bachelor's degree in a field related to business or economics.

Essential Information

Procurement managers, also known as purchasing managers, work for a variety of public and private organizations. Their main responsibility is to acquire goods for their company. This career field generally requires a bachelor's degree and prior work experience. However, advancement may require a master's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, economics, or related field
Recommended Education Master's degree in applicable field
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification available
Typical Work Experience 1-5 years
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 3% (all purchasing managers)
Median Salary (2020)** $125,940 (all purchasing managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Procurement managers might buy products and services for use by the company they represent, or they might purchase them for resale. For example, a procurement manager for a food company might buy corn to process into tortillas or cereal, while a manager with a medical imaging company might purchase x-ray or EKG machines for use at a particular radiology facility. Additionally, procurement managers might specialize in a certain type of good, such as clothing or tobacco, or a service, like advertising or transportation. In larger companies, purchasing managers might oversee a team of purchasing agents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 17% of purchasing managers worked for the management departments of companies and enterprises in 2020. Another 7% of purchasing managers, or 5,090 individuals, worked for the federal government, with the remainder divided among other industries.

Procurement managers may be able to advance to the executive role of chief procurement officer (CPO). A CPO generally heads an entire purchasing department and reports to the chief executive officer.

Job Duties

Procurement managers handle the purchasing needs of a company. They examine business trends and markets and attempt to get the greatest value for their company's dollar without sacrificing quality. Today's procurement manager needs to be familiar with an array of supply management software, including database management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), financial analysis, inventory management, point of sale, procurement and project management programs, as well as general office software.

A procurement manager needs to be skilled at mathematics, negotiation, financial analysis and supply chain management. In order to advance, he or she likely will need extensive experience in production, marketing, logistics and planning.

Educational Requirements

According to the BLS, most employers prefer to hire procurement managers who hold at least a bachelor's degree in business, engineering, economics or an applied science, and a master's degree typically is needed for advancement. Often, one begins as a trainee, procurement clerk or junior buyer before moving into a management position. The BLS reports that on-the-job training to understand company-specific requirements can take 1-5 years. Continuing education, often in the form of seminars, in generally required.

Voluntary Certification

Numerous certification programs are offered by the Institute for Supply Management, the Association for Operations Management (APICS) and the American Purchasing Society. Government procurement managers can seek additional credentials through the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing. The BLS reports that certification is becoming increasingly important, particularly for those entering the field.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Average growth of 3% is expected for purchasing managers over the 2019-2029 decade, according to the BLS. While most purchasing managers earned between $74,570 and $197,630 annually in May 2020, the median salary was $125,940.

Procurement managers who hope to advance their careers typically need to have a master's degree in an applicable field. On-the-job training for this career can be significant, lasting anywhere from 1-5 years. In addition, there are often further training requirements involved, which in most cases is conducted through seminars.

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