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Purchasing Agent

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All About Purchasing Agents

Example of Purchasing Agent Job 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.
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, conferences, conventions, and seminars to network with people in other purchasing departments.
  • Purchase the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
  • Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time, and resolve problems related to undelivered goods.
  • Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
  • Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.

What Every Purchasing Agent Should Know

Below is a list of the skills most Purchasing Agents say are important on the job.

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.

Types of Purchasing Agent

  • Leaser
  • Procurement Specialist
  • Railroad Purchasing Agent
  • Print Buyer
  • Plant Buyer

Purchasing Agent Employment Estimates

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. The BLS estimates 23,800 yearly job openings in this field.


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

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Purchasing Agents:

  • 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.


What work experience do I need to become a Purchasing Agent?


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Purchasing Agent might also be interested in the following careers:

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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