Purchasing Management Careers: Job Description & Info

Explore the job responsibilities of a purchasing management professional. Learn about educational requirements, necessary skills, employment outlook and salary in order to make the right career choice.

Career Definition for Purchasing Management Professionals

Purchasing management professionals play a key role in overseeing a business' buying activities. Purchasing management professionals purchase wholesale, retail or raw materials and manufacturing supplies for company use or resale. They manage purchasing buyers and agents. They strategize with regards to supply chain management, investigating new suppliers or purchasing procedures and software and troubleshoot supply chain issues in a deadline-oriented environment. Purchasing management professionals may also negotiate contracts with suppliers and wholesalers. Evening, weekend and overtime work is common during peak seasons for particular businesses or industries. According to an Institute for Supply Management survey, men in supply chain and purchasing management generally earn more than women, although higher education and professional certification minimize this salary gap, www.ism.ws.

Education Requirements Bachelor's degree or higher
Skill Requirements Analytical and creative thinking skills, management skills, strategic thinking
Career Outlook (2014 to 2024)* 1% growth
Mean Annual Salary (2015)* $114,130

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Retail companies often require purchasing management professionals to hold a bachelor's degree in business or a related field. Specialized industries like business, manufacturing or construction may require purchasing management professionals have a master's degree in engineering, business, logistics or economics or some form of professional certificate training. Most purchasing management professionals participate in on-the-job training and continuing education programs. Various professional certifications are available through the Institute for Supply Management, the American Purchasing Society and APICS, the Association for Operations Management. Aspiring purchasing management professionals study business, finance, economics, supply chain management, engineering, accounting and project management,

Skills Required

Purchasing management professionals need sharp analytical and creative thinking skills for managing and motivating staff as well as negotiating with vendors while keeping the strategic needs of the company in mind.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the average annual salary for purchasing managers in 2015 was $114,130. The BLS predicts a job growth of 1% for purchasing managers from 2014 to 2024, representing little to no change in the number of available jobs in this field.

Alternative Careers

Other careers in this field include:


For those seeking a career in purchasing but uninterested in extra management responsibilities, becoming a buyer may be the right fit. Buyers analyze current inventory needs, search for the best quality and price, negotiate payment and delivery terms and ensure merchandise arrives and is in good condition. Depending on the size of the organization, education requirements range from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree in business. Buyers of more complex products may need a technical degree in a field such as engineering. The BLS predicted a 2% increase in job opportunities for buyers and purchasing agents during the 2014 to 2024 decade. Buyers and purchasing agents received an average salary of $64,170, as measured by the BLS in May of 2015.


If managing the supply chain of an organization sounds interesting, maybe a career in logistics should be considered. Logisticians coordinate activities that include product acquisition, inventory tracking, shipping and storage. They get items where they need to go and when they need to get there. Logisticians also review the entire process and search for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. A bachelor's degree in supply chain management, business, or a related engineering subject is usually required to enter the field. Professional certification is also available and may provide an advantage when looking for a job. Logisticians should see an increase of 2% in job openings from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS. Logisticians earned an average salary of $77,470 in 2015, based on BLS figures.

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