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Buyer jobs can be found in many different industries. As such, duties and salaries can vary significantly. Working as a buyer can involve everything from purchasing raw materials for a local construction or clothing firm to buying financial products for a large, multi-national investment bank. The role can involve a variety of different duties, from clerical, office-based work to meeting clients and negotiating with suppliers.
Buyer jobs can be demanding, with you given a lot of important responsibilities. Buyer employers will expect you to regularly monitor market prices and sales figures in order to make recommendations, as well as manage stock levels and maintain customer and supplier relations. Keep reading to learn more about buyer jobs, including required qualifications and expected salaries.
Working as a buyer involves purchasing materials/products for your employer at the best possible price and quality. This involves many different aspects, all of which you will be required to monitor. These include your current stock levels, market demand, delivery times and actions of your competitors and the market overall. You will likely spend most of your time in an office, but there are often off-site duties also, such as visiting suppliers or production facilities.
You will also be in frequent contact with various groups, including internal sales and marketing teams, as well as external manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers. Whilst specific duties can vary significantly, general tasks include:
- Analysing sales figures and markets to predict future trends
- Providing regular reports of sales figures purchasing prices
- Manage stock levels and delivery times
- Nurture relations with suppliers and other 3rd-party groups
Whilst many buyer jobs do not have formal qualification requirements, a growing number of buyer employers are asking candidates to have a university degree. Whilst there is often no official preference for what type of degree you have, subjects such as business, retail and marketing are likely to be an advantage. Some larger organisation and those in sectors such as finance do offer graduate programs.
Candidates will often need to have a 2:2 degree or above to qualify for these programs. HNDs and the equivalent are also often accepted, particularly if you also have some relevant previous experience, such as in customer relations. Regarding skill sets, buyer employers will look for the following:
- Good attention to detail and ability to multi-task
- Interpersonal and negotiating skills
- Good spoken and written communications
- Strong analytical and presentation skills
- Good business sense, particularly around the supply-and-demand chain
Working as a buyer can provide excellent career prospects. You will often receive lots of on-the-job training and be able to gain valuable skills and experience which will help you develop further in the role. The role is a very important one, and therefore you will be given lots of responsibilities and the opportunity to show your skills to others. Once you have gained experience, senior-level buyer positions will become available, whilst many working as a buyer move into different departments entirely, such as marketing or sales.
Salaries in this role vary significantly, depending on the size of a business, as well as its sector and location. For example, a finance buyer position for a large bank in central London will pay more than a similar role for a small construction company in Manchester. Average starting salaries are around £18,000, rising to £25,000. With experience, this can rise to £40,000, whilst senior buyers in some sectors can see wages as high as £70,000.
Buyer jobs can provide an exciting and financially rewarding career. The role is often varied, helping to create an interesting and dynamic working day. Wages can be very high in some sectors, and there are often many opportunities to further your career, either through promotion or changing jobs. There may be opportunities for travel, whilst you will also get to work with people from varying backgrounds.
However, buyer jobs can also be very demanding. The role comes with lots of responsibility, and you will often be working to tight deadlines and budgets. You will need to multi-task many different duties on a daily basis, as well as provide regular updates and reports to upper management. Workloads are often high, particularly in busy sectors such as retail, and you may be expected to work unsociable hours when required.