Purchasing Agent

Career Area: Business Management and Operations

Occupation Group: Procurement

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Purchasing Agent earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $51,009

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $49,822

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Responsible for sourcing and purchasing goods or services on behalf of another party.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina262-2.3%
Nationwide8131-5.6%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Purchasing Agent is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Organizational Skills: Experience with a systematic process of structuring, integrating, co-ordinating task goals, and activities to resources in order to attain objectives.
  • Detail-Oriented: A detail oriented person is someone who pays attention to the details and can make a conscious effort to understand causes instead of just the effects, and that does this in a second nature type of way.
  • Microsoft Office: Microsoft Office is an office suite of applications, servers, and services developed by Microsoft.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Purchasing: Purchasing refers to a business or organization attempting to acquire goods or services to accomplish the goals of its enterprise.
  • Procurement: Procurement is the process of finding, agreeing terms and acquiring goods, services or works from an external source, often via a tendering or competitive bidding process.
  • Scheduling: Working experience making schedules, which are basic time-management tools, consisting of a list of times at which possible tasks, events, or actions are intended to take place withing an organization.
  • Budgeting: Experience planning how the financial resources of a business or department are to be allocated during the next business period.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Purchasing Agent that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Contract Review: Experience verifying that the language in a contract is consistent with the intended purpose of the contract.
  • Purchase Order Preparation: A purchase order (PO) is a commercial document and first official offer issued by a buyer to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services. It is used to control the purchasing of products and services from external suppliers.
  • Price Negotiation: Experience managing the give and take process between two or more parties seeking to reach an agreement on the price of a product, asset or business.
  • Contract Preparation: Experience preparing or assembling contracts.
  • Purchase Requisitions Processing: Apurchase requisitionis a document used as part of the accounting process to initiate a merchandise or supply purchase. By processing a purchase requisition, appropriate controls can monitor the legitimacy of a purchase, as well as identify the business need for the products.

Salary Boosting Skills

A professional who wishes to excel in this career path may consider developing the following highly valued skills:

  • Strategic Sourcing: Strategic sourcing is an institutional procurement process that continuously improves and re-evaluates the purchasing activities of a company.

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years50%
3 to 5 years45%
6 to 8 years3%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Purchasing Agent
  • Buyer Agent
  • Purchasing Agent/Buyer
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Buyer's Agent

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