Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
13-1023.00 - Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products

Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

Sample of reported job titles: Buyer, Procurement Specialist, Purchasing Administrator, Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Manager

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Purchase the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Research and evaluate suppliers based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production and distribution capabilities, and the supplier's reputation and history. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain and review computerized or manual records of items purchased, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Write and review product specifications, maintaining a working technical knowledge of the goods or services to be purchased. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Formulate policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time and resolve problems related to undelivered goods. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Review catalogs, industry periodicals, directories, trade journals, and Internet sites and consult with other department personnel to locate necessary goods and services. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor changes affecting supply and demand, tracking market conditions, price trends, or futures markets. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Confer with staff, users, and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers' plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Arrange the payment of duty and freight charges. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

back to top

Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Desktop calculator — 10-key calculators See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tablet computers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Accounting software — Choice Job Cost; CPR International GeneralCOST Estimator; Intuit QuickBooks software; National Job Cost software (see all 5 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Analytical or scientific software — Construction Management Software ProEst; QSM SLIM; Resources Calculations Incorporated SoftCost; WinEstimator WinEst See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports; Software AG software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Assured Software JPP; Microsoft Access; Sage 100 Contractor; Xactware Xactimate See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Enterprise resource planning ERP system software; Infor ERP SyteLine; Microsoft Great Plains software; SAP software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Financial analysis software — Cost estimation software; CPR Visual Estimator; IBM Costimater; Softstar Costar COCOMO II See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Inventory management software — Inventory management system software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Project management software — Dexter + Cheney Spectrum Construction Software; Galorath SEER-SEM; Microsoft Project See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Apple AppleWorks; Corel QuattroPro; IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

back to top

Knowledge

  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

back to top

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Management of Financial Resources — Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system. See more occupations related to this skill.

back to top

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.

back to top

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

  • Execute sales or other financial transactions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Develop business relationships. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Supervise employees. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Pay charges, fees, or taxes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Purchase products or services. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze market conditions or trends. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Train personnel to enhance job skills. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain data in information systems or databases. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Confer with personnel to coordinate business operations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze business or financial data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluate applicable laws and regulations to determine impact on organizational activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Obtain information about goods or services. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Negotiate contracts with clients or service providers. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establish organizational guidelines or policies. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor inventories of products or materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Develop technical specifications for systems or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor organizational processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Conduct eligibility or selection interviews. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Estimate demand for products or services. See more occupations related to this activity.

Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Telephone — 95% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 71% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 52% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 65% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 48% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 48% responded “More than half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 45% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 43% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 62% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 45% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Deal With External Customers — 43% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 57% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 50% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Degree of Automation — 50% responded “Highly automated.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 38% responded “Fairly serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.

back to top

Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
85   Bachelor's degree
10   Post-secondary certificate Help
5   Some college, no degree

back to top

Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses Find Apprenticeships

back to top

Interests

Interest code: CE

  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business. See more occupations related to this interest.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.

back to top

Work Values

  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.

back to top

Related Occupations

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $29.32 hourly, $60,980 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 294,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 61,600
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs Job Banks

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

back to top