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Purchasing Agent

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Life As a Purchasing Agent

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

List of Purchasing Agent Job Duties

  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices.
  • Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, conferences, conventions, and seminars to network with people in other purchasing departments.
  • Arrange the payment of duty and freight charges.
  • Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes.
  • Formulate policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.

Things a Purchasing Agent Should Know How to Do

These are the skills Purchasing Agents say are the most useful in their careers:

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.

Other Purchasing Agent Job Titles

  • Print Buyer
  • Radio Time Buyer
  • Journeyman
  • Equipment, Supplies, and Tools Purchasing Agent
  • Timber Buyer

Is There Going to be Demand for Purchasing Agents?

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. There will be an estimated 23,800 positions for Purchasing Agent per 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 & Technology 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

How to Become a Purchasing Agent

Learn what Purchasing Agent education requirements there are.

Purchasing Agent Degree Level

What work experience do I need 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:

Are you already one of the many Purchasing Agent in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


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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