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Assistant Purchasing Agent: Job Description & Salary

Assistant purchasing agents buy and sell goods and services, either independently or on behalf of a company. Keep reading for more information on typical job duties and salary expectations.

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What Does An Assistant Purchasing Agent Do?

Purchasing agents typically work on behalf of organizations and are tasked with the buying and selling of services and products, either for use within a company or for reselling. These professionals generate price quotes, negotiate contracts, attend conferences, and analyze proposals.

Assistant purchasing agent is an entry-level role and typically comes with more junior responsibilities, such as keeping records, performing inventory, and other administrative tasks.

Educational Requirements High-school diploma (some positions may require a bachelor's degree)
Job Skills Communication and customer service skills, organization, negotiation skills
Median Salary (2018)* $57,288
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** -3% (For all Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents)

Source: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

As this is more of an entry-level position, assistant purchasing agents typically only need a high-school diploma in order to find employment. This requirement can vary depending on the size of the organization for which one works; larger businesses are more likely to require a bachelor's degree.

When selecting a major, focus on fields that teach business acumen. Finance, marketing, and economics are just three examples of majors that will result in a relevant bachelor's degree for an assistant purchasing agent.

Some roles that prefer a bachelor's degree may be willing to accept candidates who only have a high-school diploma if the applicant has sufficient work experience.

It should be noted that purchasing managers (a more senior position) usually have at least a bachelor's degree, so ambitious assistant purchasing agents with their sights set on a promotion should keep this in mind when debating whether or not an education is the right investment.

Required Skills

While assistant purchasing agents will need extensive economic knowledge to be successful, this is not a requirement when looking for a job, as the expectation is that one will learn with experience. Instead, good purchasing agents must be expert communicators. The job relies almost exclusively on communicating with clients, vendors, and supervisors. Negotiation skills are also a necessity, as with any job in such a competitive field. Purchasing agents can be more effective negotiators by having an understanding of the market.

When not dealing with customers or vendors, assistant purchasing agents will need to do a lot of record-keeping. Inventory, vendor contracts, and periodical sales reports are all required documents. Organization and time management are important skills to have when handling multiple tasks.

Career Outlook & Salary

The current job market for purchasing agents is less than ideal and this trend seems destined to continue. Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents can expect to see a three percent decline in job opportunities from 2016-26, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS predicts that increased automation and labor outsourcing will be the primary causes of this decline.

Assistant purchasing agents earn around $57,000, though this figure may vary based on one's industry and level of experience. Payscale.com reported that the median salary for assistant purchasing agents was $57,288 but also noted that the overall pay range was $27,040 - $64,864.

Related Careers

The buying and selling trade is extensive, packed with several other occupations that require many of the same skills as an assistant purchasing agent, including the following:

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