career in purchasing

Learn More About a Career in Purchasing: Opportunities & Growth

If you have an interest in supply chain management and have been searching for an exciting career with numerous growth prospects, a purchasing career may be right for you. Purchasing professionals play an integral role in the procurement process by sourcing products and services required by businesses and organizations.

A career in purchasing offers diverse opportunities across various sectors and industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and technology. Along with numerous job options, it is also a field with promising growth prospects and competitive salaries.

As the role of procurement continues to develop and evolve, it is an exciting time to explore the many career opportunities available in this field. In this article, we will provide an overview of the purchasing career path and highlight key information about the job prospects, education requirements, and other essential considerations.

Quick Answers

  • A career in purchasing offers diverse opportunities across various sectors and industries
  • Purchasing professionals play an integral role in the procurement process by sourcing products and services required by businesses and organizations
  • The field of purchasing offers promising growth prospects and competitive salaries
  • Education and training requirements vary, but obtaining certifications and completing professional development opportunities can enhance career prospects
  • Joining professional associations and networking can support professional development and career growth in purchasing

What is Purchasing?

If you’re curious about a career in purchasing, it’s important to understand what purchasing means. Purchasing is the process of acquiring goods or services from external sources in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible. This includes everything from raw materials and finished products to services and technologies.

Purchasing plays a critical role in many industries, including manufacturing, retail, healthcare, and technology. As a purchasing professional, your job is to ensure that your company has the resources it needs to operate effectively while keeping costs under control.

If you’re interested in a career in purchasing, there are a variety of job options available to you. Some of the most common positions include:

  • Purchasing agent or buyer
  • Procurement specialist
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Vendor manager
  • Inventory controller

Regardless of which job you choose, your role as a purchasing professional will involve managing relationships with suppliers, negotiating contracts, and ensuring that your company has the resources it needs to thrive.

When it comes to procurement job prospects, the field of purchasing is expected to grow steadily in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Overall, a career in purchasing can be a rewarding and challenging path, with many opportunities for growth and advancement.

The Role of a Purchasing Professional

As a purchasing professional, you will be responsible for managing supplier relationships, negotiating contracts, and ensuring the timely delivery of goods and services. Your role is critical to the success of your organization, as you will be responsible for maintaining a steady supply of resources while managing costs.

You will work closely with stakeholders across departments, from production to finance, to ensure that purchasing decisions align with company goals and objectives. Your expertise in procurement processes and supply chain management will be invaluable as you evaluate options and make recommendations to your team.

Strong communication and negotiation skills are essential in this role, as you will be regularly interacting with suppliers and vendors. You will also need to stay up to date on industry trends and market conditions to make informed purchasing decisions.

As a purchasing professional, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area, such as raw materials or logistics. This can lead to career growth and advancement into management roles, where you will oversee a team of purchasing professionals and contribute to strategic planning.

Key responsibilities of a purchasing professional:

  • Sourcing and evaluating suppliers
  • Negotiating contracts and pricing
  • Managing inventory levels
  • Collaborating with cross-functional teams
  • Maintaining accurate records and documentation
Career Growth Median Annual Salary (May 2020)
Purchasing Agent/ Buyer $66,090
Purchasing Manager $125,130

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Skills Required for a Career in Purchasing

To succeed in a purchasing career, you need to have a range of vital skills and qualifications. These skills and qualifications will enable you to take on different purchasing job options and benefit from purchasing career development opportunities.

First and foremost, you need to have strong analytical skills. You’ll be responsible for analyzing data and making informed purchasing decisions that will impact your organization’s bottom line. Your analytical skills will also be required when selecting the right suppliers, comparing prices, and assessing the quality of goods and services.

Additionally, you need to have excellent negotiation skills. Effective negotiation is integral to any purchasing job, and the ability to communicate persuasively and confidently will enable you to secure favorable terms and prices from suppliers.

It’s also essential to have a deep understanding of procurement processes and principles. This knowledge will help you to streamline purchasing operations, manage inventory levels, and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.

You can develop your skills and knowledge through purchasing career development programs and training. Professional certifications, such as those offered by the International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management, can also demonstrate your expertise and qualifications in the field.

Qualifications and Skills Checklist:

Skills Qualifications
Analytical skills Bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain management or a related field
Negotiation skills Master’s degree in business or a supply chain management-related field
Procurement process knowledge Certifications such as CPM, CPSM, or CPP

Education and Training for Purchasing Professionals

If you are looking to pursue a career in purchasing, you will need the appropriate education and training to succeed. While a college degree is not always required, it can be beneficial for career development and can make you more competitive in the purchasing job market. Here are some key considerations:

  • Certifications: There are several industry certifications available for purchasing professionals, such as the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and the Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM). These certifications can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise in the field and can help you stand out in the job market.
  • Degree Programs: Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in supply chain management, operations management, and logistics, which can provide you with a strong foundation in purchasing and procurement processes. Some of the top schools for purchasing and supply chain management include Michigan State University, Arizona State University, and Penn State University.
  • Professional Development: Continuing education and professional development can be instrumental in advancing your purchasing career. Attend industry conferences and seminars, join professional associations, and read industry publications to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Investing in your education and training can help you achieve purchasing career growth and position you for success in this dynamic field.

Purchasing Career Paths: Advancement and Growth Opportunities

If you’re interested in a career in purchasing, there are numerous paths you can take to advance and develop your skills. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your career to the next level, the purchasing field offers a wealth of opportunities for growth and development.

Purchasing Career Path

The most common purchasing career path begins with an entry-level purchasing role, such as a purchasing coordinator or assistant. From there, you can advance to positions such as buyer, senior buyer, purchasing manager, and director of procurement. These roles typically involve managing larger budgets, supervising teams, and developing procurement strategies.

Purchasing Career Development

There are various ways to develop your purchasing skills and enhance your career prospects. One option is to pursue formal education, such as a degree in supply chain management, business, or finance. Another option is to obtain industry-specific certifications, such as those offered by the Institute for Supply Management or the American Purchasing Society. Additionally, taking advantage of professional development opportunities, such as workshops, seminars, and conferences, can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and best practices.

Purchasing Job Market

The job market for purchasing professionals is strong, with a steady demand for skilled candidates in a variety of industries. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in purchasing, procurement, and supply chain management is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029. This growth is due in part to the increasing importance of supply chain efficiency and cost reduction in businesses of all sizes.

Purchasing Career Growth

The potential for career growth in purchasing is significant, with opportunities to advance into management roles and specialization in areas such as supplier relationship management, sourcing, and contract negotiation. Additionally, with the emergence of new trends such as e-procurement and sustainability, there is growing demand for professionals with expertise in these areas.

Position Average Annual Salary
Purchasing Coordinator $45,000
Buyer $60,000
Senior Buyer $75,000
Purchasing Manager $95,000
Director of Procurement $125,000

Salary information source:

Industries and Sectors for Purchasing Professionals

If you’re considering a career in purchasing, you’ll be pleased to know that there are many opportunities available across a wide range of industries and sectors. As a purchasing professional, you could find yourself working in:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Technology
  • Construction
  • Government

Within these industries, there are various roles for purchasing professionals, including:

Industry Job Titles
Manufacturing Production planner, materials manager, supply chain analyst
Retail Category manager, procurement specialist, buyer
Healthcare Value analysis coordinator, procurement manager, contract negotiator
Technology Sourcing specialist, procurement analyst, contract manager
Construction Estimator, purchase agent, project manager
Government Purchasing manager, acquisition specialist, contract administrator

As you can see, there are plenty of purchasing career opportunities available in a range of industries. The purchasing job market is robust, with growing demand for professionals who can oversee procurement processes and manage suppliers. Whether you’re just starting your career or looking to make a switch, a career in purchasing offers a wide range of options and attractive job prospects.

Emerging Trends in Purchasing

As the world becomes more interconnected, the field of purchasing is rapidly evolving to keep up with the pace of change. In this section, you’ll explore some of the emerging trends in the purchasing industry that are driving growth and innovation.


E-procurement, or electronic procurement, is the process of conducting purchasing activities over the internet. This trend is gaining traction in many industries, particularly in the B2B (business-to-business) space. E-procurement systems can help organizations streamline their procurement processes, reduce costs, and improve supply chain efficiency.

According to a recent survey, 78% of procurement professionals believe that e-procurement will become the standard purchasing method in the next decade. As a result, having knowledge of e-procurement systems and tools is becoming essential for professionals in the purchasing field.


As environmental concerns continue to gain global attention, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important aspect of the purchasing function. Many organizations are now making sustainability a key priority in their purchasing decisions.

In fact, a recent study found that 72% of procurement professionals believe that sustainability will become a more important priority in the next decade. This trend is creating new opportunities for professionals with expertise in sustainable procurement practices.

Global Sourcing

Global sourcing, or the practice of sourcing goods and services from international suppliers, has become increasingly common in recent years. This trend is being driven by factors such as cost savings, access to new markets, and the rise of e-commerce.

However, global sourcing also comes with its own set of challenges, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and logistics issues. To be successful in this area, purchasing professionals need to have a deep understanding of international trade regulations, as well as experience managing complex global supply chains.

Understanding these emerging trends in the field of purchasing can help you stay ahead of the curve and position yourself for career growth. Whether you specialize in e-procurement, sustainable procurement, or global sourcing, there are plenty of opportunities to make an impact in this exciting and dynamic field.

Salary and Benefits in Purchasing

When considering a career in purchasing, it’s essential to understand the potential salary and benefits you could earn. As a purchasing professional, your earning potential is influenced by various factors, including your experience, industry, and location.

According to, the median annual salary for a purchasing manager in the United States is $115,597, with a range between $102,319 and $130,590. Purchasing agents can make an average salary of $62,750 per year, while procurement specialists earn an average of $65,960 per year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is driven in part by the need for organizations to find cost-effective and sustainable ways to operate in an increasingly competitive global market.

Benefits packages for purchasing professionals can vary widely depending on the industry and employer. They typically include health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. Some organizations also offer additional perks, such as stock options, tuition reimbursement, and professional development opportunities.

Industry Median Annual Salary
Manufacturing $108,120
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $98,940
Government $78,280
Retail Trade $76,280

The purchasing job market is competitive, but it offers significant opportunities for growth and development. With the right education, training, and experience, you can advance to higher-level positions, such as supply chain manager, purchasing director, or chief procurement officer.

Overall, a career in purchasing can be financially rewarding and offer a range of benefits and opportunities for growth. If you’re passionate about analyzing data, negotiating contracts, and managing inventory, a job in purchasing could be an excellent fit for you.

Networking and Professional Associations in Purchasing

Networking and connecting with other professionals in the purchasing industry can be valuable for your career growth. Joining professional associations can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends, gain new insights, and expand your network.

Purchasing Associations to Consider

Here are some professional associations you may want to consider joining:

  • The Institute for Supply Management (ISM)
  • The National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM)
  • The Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC)
  • The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS)

These organizations offer resources such as training, certification, and events to help you stay current in your purchasing career. Membership in a professional association can also be a great way to network with other professionals and connect with potential employers.

Networking Tips

Networking can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips for making the most of your networking opportunities:

  1. Be prepared: Have an elevator pitch ready to describe your career goals and experience.
  2. Listen: Be interested in what others have to say, and ask questions to show your engagement.
  3. Follow up: Reach out to your new connections after the event to cultivate your relationship.
  4. Be genuine: Networking is about building relationships, so be yourself and let your personality shine through.

Remember that networking is a continuous process, and building relationships takes time. Attend networking events regularly, and continue to follow up with your contacts to stay top of mind.

Being an active member of a professional association can be a great way to build your skills, expand your network, and advance your career in purchasing. Take the time to explore your options and find the association that’s right for you.


Congratulations on learning more about a career in purchasing! You now have a deeper understanding of the exciting opportunities and growth potential available in this dynamic field. With the right skills and qualifications, you can thrive as a purchasing professional and make a real impact in the industry.

Start Your Purchasing Career Journey Today

Whether you are just starting out or looking to advance your career, there are many options available to you. Take advantage of educational and training opportunities to enhance your skills and qualifications. Consider joining professional associations and networking with other purchasing professionals to build your connections and gain insights into emerging trends.

Unlock Your Potential in Purchasing

With the demand for skilled purchasing professionals on the rise, the career outlook is positive. As you progress in your career, you can expect to see increases in salary and benefits. There are also many opportunities for career advancement, specialization, and management roles.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about a career in purchasing. We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and inspiration. Go ahead and take that first step towards pursuing the career of your dreams!

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