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7 careers in procurement (plus qualifications and skills)

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Procurement involves purchasing or hiring goods or services for use in business production processes. Firms often create tendering processes for procurement contracts to encourage potential suppliers to publish bids, with the firm selecting the bidder that offers the best value for money. If you want to start a procurement career, review job postings to explore the types of qualifications and skills that you may require to enter this industry. In this article, we list seven careers in procurement before highlighting the qualifications and skills that you need to work in each role.

List of 7 careers in procurement

This section lists seven careers in procurement and their national average salaries:

1. Purchaser

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National average salary: £23,345 per year

Primary duties: A purchaser buys products or services that smaller departments or organisations might use in production. They may monitor stock levels to plan delivery schedules, write new stock orders and visit the supplier's warehouses to determine product quality. They can also take part in supplier performance reviews to ensure business partners meet their contractual obligations. Purchasers can liaise with delivery personnel to ensure they're prepared to receive large deliveries. They may also visit industry roadshows to learn about new vendors and describe their services to senior procurement colleagues.

Requirements: Depending on their responsibilities, purchasers can require either a professional certification in purchasing or a bachelor's degree in business or procurement subjects. They also benefit from possessing a wide range of soft and technical skills. For example, they may use communication skills to establish positive relationships with logistics colleagues, making it easier to align deliveries with production. Examples of useful technical skills are IT skills and performance review skills. They leverage IT skills to use inventory management software, while they can use performance review skills to hold suppliers accountable for product quality and delivery timings.

Related: How to start a career in procurement (with job profiles)

2. Supply chain specialist

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National average salary: £30,390 per year

Primary duties: A supply chain specialist ensures that business supply chains provide value for money. They can monitor suppliers' operations to judge if they meet quality control practices, report their results to senior colleagues and advise changes to vendors' production processes. They may also lead targeted negotiations with suppliers to reduce the cost per unit for certain resources or reevaluate supply chain risk. These individuals may also resolve disputes between buyers and vendors regarding product quality, cost or delivery times. Supply chain specialists often work on specific supply projects and help to execute them successfully.

Requirements: As they mainly focus on procurement logistics, supply chain specialists can have a bachelor's degree in logistics or supply chain management. During their studies, they may develop varied technical skills relevant to this role, such as knowledge of Agile project management, quality control laws and circular supply chains. Supply chain specialists also possess many soft skills, such as communication and time management. They may use calm and balanced communication to resolve disputes between colleagues and vendors, while they may use time management to set firm negotiation deadlines.

Related: What is the supply chain? A comprehensive guide to SCM

3. Logistics manager

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National average salary: £38,551 per year

Primary duties: Logistics managers control the flow of productive goods so that they reach their intended location at a reasonable cost. They may regularly communicate with suppliers and negotiate new contracts if the business's economic model changes. These individuals might use IT systems to monitor delivery times and transport costs, using data to explore ways to minimise supply costs while maximising output. They can also help firms adapt to new costs that stem from rising inflation and remain financially competitive.

Requirements: Like supply chain specialists, logistics managers might earn a bachelor's degree in a logistics-related subject. As they also have managerial responsibilities, they may study for a master's degree in project management or global supply chain management. Logistics managers often have project management skills, which they can use to maintain regular flows of goods through specific supply chains. They're also adaptable, negotiating new or revised contracts as customer demand changes. Key technical skills for logistics managers are IT skills, mathematics and process planning.

Related: What are logistics? A comprehensive guide for a better career

4. Purchasing manager

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National average salary: £41,036 per year

Primary duties: Purchasing managers oversee product orders and purchases for certain departments within a large organisation. They typically work within procurement teams, executing supply contracts negotiated by senior procurement officials. For example, they can issue purchase proposals to existing suppliers, promising to buy a set quantity or value of products by a deadline. Upon delivery, they can also check products to judge if they meet quality requirements specified in the procurement contract. Purchasing managers usually record purchase receipts in financial databases.

Requirements: As they execute contracts by making repeat purchases, purchasing managers may possess a bachelor's degree in business administration or accounting. They might also earn a professional certification to develop contract management and quality control skills. Useful soft skills for purchasing managers include decisiveness, strategic planning and time management. They may also use accounting skills to monitor past order purchases, while knowledge of quality control regulations helps them to protect product quality.

Related: What does a purchasing manager do? (Plus how to become one)

5. Quantity surveyor

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National average salary: £46,998 per year

Primary duties: Quantity surveyors plan budgets for large civil engineering and construction projects. They might create cost estimates for raw materials and equipment, write tender documents and procurement contracts and advise colleagues on managing contractual disputes. They may also prepare cost estimates for repairing faulty equipment and advise colleagues to retain capital to cover further procurement costs. At the end of each project stage, they might write budget reports to compare actual spending to initial forecasts. Quantity surveyors often specialise in specific types of construction project, such as residential housing or public infrastructure.

Requirements: As they specialise in procurement for building projects, quantity surveyors need a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, construction management or land surveying. By earning this type of qualification, they may gain knowledge of construction methods and theories. They may then secure a master's degree in quantity surveying. Important soft skills for quantity surveyors are attention to detail, teamwork and time management. They also need strong mathematics skills to create accurate cost estimates.

Related: What is a quantity surveyor? (With salary information)

6. Procurement manager

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National average salary: £48,422 per year

Primary duties: Procurement manager conduct research and purchase the equipment, goods and services that an organisation uses to maintain efficient production. They may manage the bid tendering process, evaluate each vendor's bid and award contracts. They may also create criteria for evaluating the productive benefits of each bid. These systems include scoring systems and weighted metrics, such as price per item or product quality. After selecting the successful bidder, they may negotiate contracts with that firm's senior executives. Procurement managers may also forecast future changes to supply costs.

Requirements: Given their seniority, procurement managers can earn both bachelor's and master's degrees to reach this level. The bachelor's degree might cover a broad subject area, such as business management or logistics. In contrast, the master's degree might cover a more niche topic, such as international procurement. Procurement managers require strong communication. They may use this skill to negotiate with suppliers or write tendering documents using simple terms. Useful technical skills for procurement managers include knowledge of contract law and advanced mathematics skills.

Related: How to become a procurement manager, with tips and examples

7. Sourcing manager

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National average salary: £52,152 per year

Primary duties: Sourcing managers help organisations source products or services required in production at the best available price. They specialise in procurement processes, such as bid tendering, market research or vetting a potential supplier's business background. They can also create cost estimates and budgets for each contract, only considering bids that reflect these conditions. Sourcing managers also manage contracts after the bidding process ends. They can negotiate contract modifications or revised terms and conditions if either party requires changes for financial reasons. They can also manage business relationships during a contract's functional life.

Requirements: As their roles blend purchasing and relationship management tasks, sourcing managers may earn a bachelor's degree in several subjects, such as business management or accounting. They also benefit from having a master's degree in a specialist procurement field, such as commercial project management or contract management. Sourcing managers require past experience in creating tendering documents, managing business relationships and using vendor management software. Useful sourcing managers' soft skills include communication, leadership and data analysis.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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