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Purchasing Agent

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All About Purchasing Agents

Job Description: Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

Life As a Purchasing Agent: What Do They Do?

  • Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes.
  • Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
  • Review catalogs, industry periodicals, directories, trade journals, and Internet sites and consult with other department personnel to locate necessary goods and services.
  • Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time, and resolve problems related to undelivered goods.
  • Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services.
  • Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.

What Every Purchasing Agent Should Know

Purchasing Agents state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

  • Procurement Specialist
  • Jobber
  • Procurement Analyst
  • Purchasing Assistant
  • Contract Analyst

Purchasing Agent Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 309,400 jobs in the United States for Purchasing Agent. 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.

Tools & Technologies Used by Purchasing Agents

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

How do I Become a Purchasing Agent?

Learn what Purchasing Agent education requirements there are.

Purchasing Agent Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Purchasing Agent Work Experience

Similar Careers

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

Career changers with experience as a Purchasing Agent sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


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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