Purchasing Manager - The Career

Not everyone can produce their own goods. Most businesses and companies join networks of industry partners and suppliers to stock their shelves with products for customers.

To keep costs down and inventory levels up, stores hire purchasing managers to deal with suppliers and vendors in the marketplace. By meeting with business partners, purchasing managers build up relationships and create lasting contracts to keep store shelves stocked.

What do they do?

Purchasing managers are primarily negotiators and business experts, able to evaluate suppliers based on price, quality, and speed of delivery. When companies inform purchasing managers about the kinds of goods they need, the manager meets with multiple supply representatives to choose the best product for the price.

Location and Opportunity

According to Indeed.com, companies in the following locations are experiencing surges in demand for purchasing managers:

  • Houston, TX
  • New York, NY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Philadelphia, PA

Purchasing managers typically attend trade shows and other industry events to build up supply contacts. Then, meeting with those contacts, they hammer out business contracts that drive their relationships forward. As the partnership continues, they ensure both parties are keeping to their contractual agreements.

Purchasing managers train and oversee purchasing agents and retail buyers to maintain inventory levels. Other professionals they work with include:


Most purchasing managers spend time as buyers or agents before entering leadership roles. Many companies call for at least five years of experience in lower-level purchasing positions before hiring candidates as managers.

Companies don't always require purchasing managers to earn college degrees, though larger ones do demand at least bachelor's degrees for their managers.

Getting the Job

Purchasing managers are highly paid depending on the size of the company. The average salary for a purchasing manager in August 2012 was $95,000.

As companies expand, they'll need more highly qualified purchasing managers to make important decisions that affect a company's end profit.

If you're interested in learning more about negotiating contracts between suppliers and companies, contact schools offering degrees in marketing.