Purchasing Manager

Job Description:

Purchasing managers buy equipment, goods and services for their company.

Job Category:
Retail & Consumer

What you will do:

You could:

  • decide what goods, services and equipment are needed
  • forecast stock or service levels and identify potential cost savings
  • research and find new products and suppliers
  • assess tenders from potential suppliers
  • present any legal or commercial risks to senior leadership teams
  • negotiate prices and agree contracts
  • monitor the performance of contracted suppliers
  • make sure staff follow purchasing procedures correctly
  • keep up to date with market trends


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • business management skills
  • customer service skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • persuading and negotiating skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Purchasing Manager, there are no specific subject requirements. However, this role typically involves a combination of skills and knowledge in areas related to business, procurement, and management. Here are some subjects that can be valuable for a future career as a Purchasing Manager:

  1. Mathematics: Strong math skills are essential for budgeting, cost analysis, and financial aspects of procurement and supply chain management.
  2. Business Studies: Understanding business concepts, such as supply chain management, negotiation, and vendor relationships, is crucial for a Purchasing Manager.
  3. Economics: This subject can provide insights into economic principles, market dynamics, and the factors influencing supply and demand.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer applications and specialized procurement software is important for modern purchasing roles.
  5. English Language: Effective communication skills are essential for negotiating with suppliers, writing contracts, and managing vendor relationships.
  6. Foreign Languages: Knowledge of other languages can be valuable if your role involves international procurement or working with global suppliers.
  7. Science: Some understanding of scientific principles may be helpful when purchasing technical or scientific equipment and supplies.
  8. Geography: Geography can be relevant when considering factors like shipping costs and geographical distribution of suppliers.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


There is no set entry route to become a purchasing manager but it may be useful to get a relevant foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • business studies
  • purchasing and logistics
  • purchasing and supply
  • marketing
  • supply chain management


You could start as a trainee purchasing manager through an advanced Procurement and supply assistant apprenticeship.

You could also do a Commercial procurement and supply higher apprenticeship.


You could start by working as an administrator or assistant in a company’s purchasing department. You could work your way up as you get more experience.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you have several years’ experience in purchasing. If you have a degree you can join a procurement graduate management scheme.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 38-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings occasionally.

You could work in an office.

Career Path & Progression:

You can improve your career prospects with a qualification.