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Purchasing Agent

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What Does it Take to Be a Purchasing Agent?

Purchasing Agent Definition Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

What Do Purchasing Agents Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes.
  • Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies.
  • Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
  • Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services.
  • Arrange the payment of duty and freight charges.
  • Maintain and review computerized or manual records of purchased items, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories.

What a Purchasing Agent Should Know

When polled, Purchasing Agents say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Management of Financial Resources: Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.

  • Fuel Agent
  • Log Buyer
  • Purchaser
  • General Purchasing Agent
  • Merchandiser

Is There Job Demand for Purchasing Agents?

In the United States, there were 309,400 jobs for Purchasing Agent in 2016. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Purchasing Agent. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 23,800 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Purchasing Agents in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Purchasing Agent are Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What Tools do Purchasing Agents Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Purchasing Agents may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Data entry software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • IBM Notes
  • Google Docs
  • FileMaker Pro
  • Intuit QuickBooks
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne

Becoming a Purchasing Agent

Individuals working as a Purchasing Agent have obtained the following education levels:

Purchasing Agent Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Purchasing Agent?

Purchasing Agent Work Experience

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being a Purchasing Agent may also be interested in:

Those who work as a Purchasing Agent sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:


Image Credit: Nick Nijhuis via Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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