Buying and Procurement School Leaver Jobs - Careers Guide

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Everyone likes getting a deal – finding that new iPad for loads less than your friend did, free downloads, or 2-for-1 offers. Skills like this fall under buying and procurement – also known as purchasing and supply of goods. There are people who actually look for deals like this for a living on a larger scale, but using the same know-how of finding the best products for the best prices.Buying and procurement

Buying and procurement is generally split into two roles. Buyers look for new products for companies, while merchandisers decide how much of a certain product to buy and which shops need more stock.

What’s it all about? TOP ^

Professional buyers hook up all kinds of businesses with the bits and pieces they need to make the products or services they offer, and succeed at what they do. Sometimes these deals involve give and take between the companies involved or the buyer and supplier, and it could be up to you to make sure everyone leaves happy. Basically, you'll get paid to spend other peoples' money!

Being successful in buying and procurement comes from knowing the right people, having slick negotiating skills and being savvy when it comes to spending money. After leaving school or moving on from sixth form, a degree in business or finance will start you on this career path, as you'll need to know about how finances work, plus laws about taxes and business contracts, and how all these differ in other countries.

Buying and procurement is the kind of work where you can go into any industry. Clothing stores, food chains, film studios and even government defence need people who are good and finding the items they need to operate, so this isn't all about working in a finance company. You can apply your buying skills and experience to another kind of industry you're interested in. Hours can vary depending on what kinds of things you're buying, and when it needs to be in-hand. There'll be lot of responsibility on your shoulders, but when you do well, everyone will know it.

What will I earn? TOP ^

Starting salaries: £16,000 - £18,000
With experience: £30,000 - £50,000 at senior level

Where can I work? TOP ^

Buying and procurement jobs exist anywhere there is a supply chain. Most school leavers want to work in retail, particularly with big fashion brands. You could try working for major multinational retailers like the Arcadia Group, which own several high street retailers. Alternatively, you could work for smaller, more independent shops.

You should make an early distinction between whether you want to be a buyer or a merchandiser. Do your skills lie in spotting the next big trend or in working with numbers?

What skills will I need in buying and procurement? TOP ^

You need to have a good sense for business with this kind of work, and have excellent communication and people skills. A bit of creativity will help you figure out how to find the right kinds of supplies in ways that might not be obvious, but that can give you the best price.
You’ll need to be confident too - you won’t make a good deal or keep up your business relationships if you hesitate when it comes to the actual buying part.

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:

What entry level buying and procurement jobs can I do? TOP ^

Buying and procurement is a competitive industry to get in to, and as such most roles will require you to have a degree. However, getting work experience or an internship at a retailer could lead to a full-time position, so this is often the best way in if you decide not to continue in education.

Some entry level buying and procurement jobs include:

  • Merchandising assistant
  • Buying administration assistant
  • Junior buyer
  • Warehouse supply chain
Browse all Buying and Procurement jobs for this guide