The roles available for professionals looking to work and progress in procurement and supply chain management are varied, which is why we aim to shed some light on what can be expected by professionals considering those positions.

In this procurement role spotlight blog, we look at the role of the Procurement Buyer, also referred to as the Purchaser.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Buyer

The buying role differs from industry to industry, but some of the general roles and responsibilities that echo throughout the purchasing profession may include:

  • Decision making where new products and services are concerned
  • Reviewing current products/services
  • Sourcing suppliers
  • Supplier negotiations
  • Making sure products/services get delivered on time and meet the required standards.
  • Interpretation of reports and making of sales predictions for future periods.
  • Proposal of ideas to the financial management team
  • Monitoring of stock
  • Working to a budget
  • Quick reaction to market changes
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Attendance of industry events

The Ideal Candidate

The buying profession is high pressure but reaps high rewards in the form of potential progression, industry recognition and high salaries. Attributes of the ideal candidate for the buying role include:

  • Great team worker
  • Good organisational skills
  • Excellent time management
  • Confident communicator
  • Works well under pressure
  • Excellent people skills

The Skills and Qualifications of a Buyer

The skills needed will differ depending on the industry, but as a general rule a buyer should have the following skills:

  • Strong negotiation skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Relationship building and management skills
  • In depth understanding and knowledge of the industry
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Competence in using Microsoft Office software, in particular Excel
  • Good maths and English

Qualifications wise, the CIPS Diploma in Procurement and Supply is recognised across the industry and is ideal for anyone looking to enter into an entry level buying role. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply have created their varying diploma levels to provide candidates with the skills and knowledge needed to perform in procurement. In many cases a CIPS qualification is a requirement for a purchasing position.

Salaries, Working Hours and Opportunities For Progression

Typically a buying position will see you working normal office hours, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. However, depending on the industry, these hours may differ slightly to fit in with supplier working hours and additional hours may be worked when new product/service ranges are being launched.

As a buyer, annual salaries for entry level positions start at between £13k and £18k depending on location, and can rise to up to £28k with role-based promotions, when experience rises and additional responsibilities are added. With experience and qualifications, you can then progress to senior buyer positions earning a salary of up to £60k+ with attractive bonuses and benefits packages.