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Become A Senior Buyer

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Working As A Senior Buyer

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $63,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior Buyer Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Senior Buyer

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.0 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.7 years
Purchasing Manager 4.7 years
Plant Buyer 4.1 years
Buyer 4.0 years
Planner/Buyer 4.0 years
Technical Buyer 3.7 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.6 years
Procurement Buyer 3.6 years
Buyer Lead 3.6 years
Strategic Buyer 3.4 years
Procurement Agent 3.2 years
Associate Buyer 2.8 years
Junior Buyer/Buyer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Senior Buyer
Buyer 36.3%
Planner 1.5%
Manager 1.4%
Top Careers After Senior Buyer
Buyer 21.3%
Manager 2.2%
Consultant 2.0%
Owner 1.6%

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Senior Buyer Demographics

Gender

Male

53.1%

Female

39.9%

Unknown

7.0%
Ethnicity

White

62.5%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

8.1%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

Chinese

9.6%

Mandarin

8.9%

German

6.0%

French

5.8%

Cantonese

3.6%

Italian

3.6%

Portuguese

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Arabic

2.0%

Korean

1.8%

Carrier

1.3%

Hindi

0.7%

Russian

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Turkish

0.4%

Vietnamese

0.4%

Thai

0.4%

Czech

0.4%

Romanian

0.2%
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Senior Buyer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.9%

Michigan State University

8.6%

Arizona State University

6.7%

San Jose State University

5.7%

University of Houston

5.5%

Northeastern University

4.7%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

De Anza College

3.4%

Texas A&M University

3.3%

Webster University

3.3%

Wayne State University

3.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.1%

San Diego State University

3.1%

Western Michigan University

2.8%

Ohio State University

2.7%

Indiana Wesleyan University

2.6%

Fashion Institute of Technology

2.6%

Northern Illinois University

2.6%

Purdue University

2.6%

Bowling Green State University

2.4%
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Majors

Business

52.6%

Management

7.7%

Marketing

6.0%

Supply Chain Management

5.8%

Accounting

3.8%

Finance

3.1%

Communication

2.2%

Economics

1.9%

Education

1.9%

Psychology

1.8%

Political Science

1.6%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.5%

Operations Management

1.4%

Project Management

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

International Business

1.2%

Computer Science

1.2%

General Studies

1.2%

English

1.2%

Industrial Technology

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.3%

Masters

18.7%

Other

18.4%

Associate

8.4%

Certificate

4.2%

Diploma

0.5%

Doctorate

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$63,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$63,000
Median 50%
$108,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
IAP Worldwide Services
Highest Paying City
Hayward, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
5.4 years
How much does a Senior Buyer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Senior Buyer in the United States is $63,255 per year or $30 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $108,000.

Real Senior Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Buyer Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Nov 03, 2014 $160,000
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Jul 08, 2013 $150,000
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Mar 17, 2015 $141,835 -
$173,800
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Jul 07, 2015 $141,835 -
$173,800
Senior Buyer, Global Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Nov 14, 2016 $141,440 -
$178,500
Senior Buyer Knits-Retail and Direct Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Aug 06, 2014 $126,000
Senior Buyer, Apparel Walmart.com Brisbane, CA Mar 14, 2011 $120,000
Senior Global Buyer, Franchise Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Sep 12, 2015 $115,000 -
$150,000
Senior Buyer W. R. Grace & Co. Columbia, MD Dec 28, 2015 $112,200
Senior Buyer/Planner Litepoint Corporation, A Teradyne Company Sunnyvale, CA May 16, 2016 $110,000
SR. Buyer Knits-Retail and Direct Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Nov 01, 2011 $110,000
Senior Buyer Pharmavite LLC Los Angeles, CA May 01, 2015 $102,024
SR. Packaging Buyer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 31, 2016 $99,986
Senior Buyer R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Memphis, TN Sep 26, 2013 $93,998
Senior Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Aug 20, 2014 $82,000 -
$100,000
Senior Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Dec 11, 2014 $82,000 -
$100,000
Senior Buyer-Direct Materials, North America W. R. Grace & Co. Baltimore, MD Sep 30, 2013 $82,000
Senior Buyer The Medtech Group South Plainfield, NJ Nov 03, 2012 $81,182 -
$100,672
Senior New Project Buyer Pelco, Inc. Tualatin, OR Sep 18, 2015 $81,000 -
$101,925
Buyer Senior Newmont International Services Limited Greenwood Village, CO May 09, 2016 $80,500
SR. Buyer-Permanent POS Commercialization Pepsico, Inc. NY May 01, 2014 $80,000
SR. Buyer/Planner Medtronic, Inc. Littleton, MA Aug 31, 2016 $80,000
SR. Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Nov 30, 2012 $75,000 -
$85,000
SR. Buyer Coinstar, Inc. Aurora, IL May 02, 2011 $75,000 -
$85,000
Senior Buyer Dometic Corporation Elkhart, IN Feb 22, 2016 $75,000
Senior Buyer SBM Atlantia, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 09, 2012 $74,443 -
$96,000
Senior Sourcing Buyer Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2014 $73,632 -
$89,586
Senior New Project Buyer Pelco, Inc. Tualatin, OR Aug 28, 2016 $72,904 -
$81,540
SR. Buyer-Supply Chain-Purchasing Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Aug 15, 2015 $72,615

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Top Skills for A Senior Buyer

  1. Supply Chain
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. Supplier Quality
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Coordinate production schedules while maintaining appropriate inventory levels for an uninterrupted supply chain.
  • Issued purchase orders after project authority approval.
  • Prepare RFQ documentation to drive effective bidding process while facilitating quality review audits of all applications through Supplier Quality Assurance.
  • Developed and strengthened new hardware vendor relationships allowing Stream a wider scope to source products ultimately expediting the fulfillment process.
  • Worked with New Product Development to successfully source and introduce engineering prototypes into production.

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Top 10 Best States for Senior Buyers

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Virginia
  3. New York
  4. Michigan
  5. New Jersey
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Connecticut
  8. Minnesota
  9. Alaska
  10. Massachusetts
  • (32 jobs)
  • (309 jobs)
  • (382 jobs)
  • (289 jobs)
  • (239 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)
  • (161 jobs)
  • (203 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (255 jobs)

Top Senior Buyer Employers

Jobs From Top Senior Buyer Employers

Senior Buyer Videos

The Role of a Senior Buyer

Tea with Jules: Holly Russell Senior Buyer at Net-A-Porter

Dale Larsen, Senior Buyer, describes how easy it is to do business with Spectrum Numismatics

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