Buying and Procurement Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

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Buying and procurement is the area of retail involved in deciding what products need to be put on the shelves in order to make the biggest profit. Buying and procurement is all about knowing your customers and spotting the next big thing, so if you have a talent for trendspotting then this could be the perfect industry for you.

Buying and procurement is split into two sectors. Buyers are involved in deciding which products the company should invest in, so you should ideally have an excellent understanding of your customer base on the latest trends.

Procurement, also known as merchandising, is deciding how much stock to buy and where to send it to. Buy too little and you risk running out of a hot item. Buy too much and you’ll struggle to shift it all. Twist or stick?

What degree do I need?TOP ^

Although buying and procurement roles are open to all graduates, it can help to have a degree in certain subjects. However, many companies prefer to recruit graduates from business or maths related degrees, or alternatively train graduates themselves on graduate schemes. It can also be useful to have an economics degree if you are looking to get into this industry.

Some of the degrees that may prove useful for a career in buying and procurement include:

  • Maths
  • Marketing
  • Business studies
  • Economics
  • Statistics

What skills do I need?TOP ^

A career in retail, and specifically in buying and procurement, requires you to be able to make some hard decisions while thinking logically. You need to be good at research and be able to pick out new trends and styles. You need to be creative in thinking up new product ranges and designs.

You also need to be commercially aware about what could make your company money, as well as having the financial sense to negotiate a good deal and work out how much to buy and when to hold back.

Some of the skills that may be useful for a career in buying and procurement include:

It’s important that you are able to call upon a network of contacts and trendspotters for these roles - having the right contacts might mean getting that vital product ahead of your rivals.

What graduate buying and procurement job can I do? TOP ^

Graduates looking to get into either buying or procurement generally start as either junior buyers or retail merchandisers for major chains such as Arcadia. These roles involve working with senior partners to research new products for a particular part of your store or brand, as well as working out how many units to buy and where to distribute them.

Another role can be in logistics, which involves ensuring the right stock is distributed to the correct store at the right time.

Progression in both buying and procurement can be rapid as you gain experience of the industry and company ethos.

Some buying and procurement jobs that you may be interesting in doing after graduation include:

  • Retail merchandiser
  • Junior buyer
  • Fashion blogger
  • Operational researcher
  • Purchasing manager
  • Marketing executive

Average salariesTOP ^

As with most of the retail industry, buying and procurement jobs are not well paid to begin with but can rise rapidly with experience. However, many workers in these industries receive benefits and perks such as discounts on products, while buyers may get to travel to find new products.

Some typical starting salaries in the buying and procurement sector include:

  • Retail buyer: £18,000 - £25,000
  • Retail merchandiser: £18,000 - £20,000
  • Quality manager: £18,000 - £25,000
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