A buyer is responsible for researching and purchasing products and services for their employer.
These could be internally used provisions such as a cleaning service for the company office – or products that the employer sell to their customers, like consumer goods.
Ultimately a buyer’s job is to vet suppliers and secure the best goods or services at the lowest costs.
This detailed guide includes a full buyer job description and everything else you need to know about buyers, including salaries, skills, qualifications, typical employers and more.
- Buyer job description
- How much do buyers earn?
- What does a buyer do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs buyers?
- Which junior jobs progress to buyer roles?
Buyer job description
Buyer |Hayes Manufacturing
About Hayes Manufacturing
Hayes Manufacturing is a global market leading supplier of household, health care and personal care products. Our extensive product range is sold in over 200 countries, making our products among the world’s most recognisable household names, trusted and relied upon by consumers everywhere.
About the role
We are looking for a Buyer to join our Purchasing Team to control the day to day purchasing of parts and services to the business, whilst ensuring the supply of goods into the business is managed effectively, efficiently and at the lowest possible cost.
- Manage the purchase and supply of all procured goods and services
- Successfully manage a large supplier base; negotiating improved supplier terms and pricing
- Conduct market research and report on movements in price and changes in terms being offered
- Manage supplier relationships including quality and supply issues, improving supplier performance and building successful supply chain partnerships
- Identify and assess new supply options for current and upcoming purchasing requirements
- Complete the internal supplier approval process to ensure that all suppliers meet the relevant business standards and all relevant certification and records are up to date
- Arrange and attend supplier meetings in order to analyse and discuss supplier performance, as well as gain knowledge of the full portfolio of products and services offered
- Maintain regular communication with the Production Team to finalise and confirm the weekly production schedule based on customer requirements and available material stocks
- Analyse internal purchasing processes and suggest improvements to ensure continuity of the department’s performance
Location & commitments
- Permanent, full time position based in our Liverpool Head Office
- 5hrs per week, Monday – Friday 09:00-17:00
- Some evening and weekend work is expected during busy periods or to attend trade shows
- Extensive knowledge of purchasing within a manufacturing environment
- Accomplished communication skills with experience discussing finances, budgets and costs
- Proven history of successful supplier negotiation
- Able to demonstrate continuous improvement through purchasing processes
- First-rate time management and organisational skills with the ability to work to strict deadlines and under pressure
- Educated to A Level or equivalent (HNC or higher is preferred)
- Desire to study or actively studying CIPS (preferred)
- Strong IT skills with a working knowledge of Microsoft Office and strong Excel skills
Contact us to apply
If you think you’ve got what it takes to be part of our fast-paced hardworking team, please send your CV and cover letter to Adam York at Adam@HayesManufacturing.com.
How much do buyers earn?
Buyers in the UK can expect to earn a reasonable average salary of £37,500 with plenty of room for promotions and progression
Buyer salaries in the UK
- Low: £27,000
- Average: £37,500
- High: £50,874
Source: Total Jobs
Buyer salaries vary according to a number of factors;
- The industry of the employer – buying opportunities are available in several industries including retail, wholesale, manufacturing, engineering and public services
- The value of the product or service being purchased – products can vary from high value jewellery and sports cars, to bulk purchases of small engineering parts or plastic food containers. Services range from cleaning to IT security.
- The volume of goods or services being purchased – goods or services can be purchased as single items, such as a sports car for a luxury car sales company, or bulk-bought in the hundreds and thousands, such as bolts for a car manufacturing business
- Resale or internal use – buyers may purchase products for their employer to sell to customers, or may purchase products for internal use within the business
- General factors – location, candidate experience and the size of the business
For example, a buyer working for a global high-end clothing retailer, buying tens of thousands of expensive garments every month for their employer, will likely earn more than a buyer working for an independent homeware store, purchasing a few hundred low-cost items every month
Bear in mind that these are average figures taken from job advert samples, and they do not include extra benefits such as bonuses, overtime and non-financial benefits such as healthcare.
What does a buyer do?
Looking at a typical buyer job description, here are the usual tasks and responsibilities that buyers will carry out during an average working week:
- Sourcing – Finding and vetting potential new suppliers and ensuring they meet the standards required by the employer
- Comparing suppliers and goods – Researching, evaluating, and selecting products from suppliers, considering price, quality, and speed of delivery
- Negotiation – Discussing purchase agreements with suppliers to obtain products or services for the best possible price and terms for the employer
- Supplier management – Maintaining positive, mutually beneficial supplier relationships including managing queries and addressing supply issues
- Preparing purchase orders – Defining product needs and preparing order documents for suppliers to fulfil
- Data analysis – Conducting market research to understand supplier price changes and consumer purchasing trends
- Reporting – Providing regular updates to senior management regarding supplier performance, cost savings, and supplier term amendments
- Stock forecasting – Accurately predict the upcoming stock requirements based on historic sales patterns
- Presenting to management – Pitching products, services, and suppliers to management in order to gain approval
- Supplier inspections – Visiting supplier premises to review conditions and quality control measures
What do buyers need?
Buyers need a wide range of skills and experience in order to carry out the job effectively.
The exact requirements depend on the seniority of the position, the industry, and the type of goods or services being procured.
Junior buyer roles will usually require the candidate to have had some experience with sourcing and procuring items or managing supplier or vendor relationships. Some companies do choose to hire candidates with no buying experience and progress them through their trainee or graduate program.
Intermediate to senior buyer roles will usually require candidates to have extensive knowledge of purchasing, alongside negotiation and supplier management experience. It is also advantageous for candidates to have industry specific experience, for example a manufacturing company would prefer a buyer with previous experience buying within the manufacturing industry.
Skills in the following areas are vital for candidates looking to secure a role as a buyer:
- Communication: Written and verbal communication with internal staff, business leaders and external suppliers
- Data analysis: Complete a variety of data analyses such as analysing consumer buying patterns to predict future trends, market trend analysis to effectively react to changes in demand, and stock and sales forecasting
- Negotiation: Liaising with external suppliers to come to an agreement by which they provide a product or service for an agreed upon low cost
- Problem solving: Managing supply issues through to resolution, minimising the effect of any problems on the supply chain
And the more industry specific “hard skills” include:
- Sourcing: Source and vet potential suppliers in order to find the most reliable, affordable and quality suppliers to fulfil the product or service requirement
- Procurement: Placing purchase orders with suppliers, checking order confirmations, following up with suppliers, confirming goods or services have been provided, and ensuring the goods or services are paid for
- Supplier management: Ensuring maximum value is received for the money paid to suppliers including establishing a mutually beneficial relationship, managing order requirements effectively and communicating clearly
- Product/service knowledge: An in-depth understanding of the goods or services they purchase, pricing and the consumer market surrounding it.
Qualifications are not essential to work as a buyer, as many employers value experience and skills over qualifications. However, the following qualifications will provide buyers with the knowledge to perform efficiently in the role.
Although a degree is not an essential component in securing a role as a buyer, many employers will opt to hire a candidate with a degree-level education.
When hiring buyers, employers will often look for candidates with a degree in a relevant field such as:
- Retail management
Additionally, a HND or foundation degree in a relevant area, accompanied by practical experience, can assist in securing a buying role.
Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS)
CIPS offers a variety of courses which teach the skills required to pursue a career as a buyer. The courses focus on the core principles, knowledge and understanding of the procedures and processes related to purchasing goods and services, contracting, negotiation, supplier relationships and ethics.
The CIPS Level 2 Certificate course doesn’t require any prior experience or qualifications and is suitable for those who for entry level staff. CIPS qualifications can be pursued up to the CIPS level 6 Professional Diploma which is for candidates 3 years’ experience in a position of responsibility, such as working as a purchasing manager.
It’s common for employers to fund employees CIPS training.
What is expected of buyers?
Typically, a buyer will be expected to commit to the following:
- Full time hours – 35-40 hours per week across Monday to Friday, usually the typical 09:00 – 17:00 in line with other businesses opening hours
- Occasional evening or weekend work – when required to source products, attend trade shows or meet with suppliers
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s office
- Occasional travel – To meet suppliers or carry out factory inspections
As buyers are required across a variety of industries their benefits packages vary a lot, but they are often offered benefits such as:
- Bonuses – based on performance around cost savings
- Corporate discount – such as a retail discount if the employer is a fashion company
- Car allowance/company car – if travel is expected within the role
Who employs buyers?
The role of a buyer is common across a large number of industries within the UK as the vast majority of big businesses require products or services to be purchased for use within their company, or for resale.
Buyers are particularly prominent within the retail industry, where they are responsible for sourcing, developing and introducing product ranges that match a brand’s requirements and customer base.
Large companies tend to employ several buyers to work within their purchasing team, whereas medium sized companies may only have one or two buyers running their purchasing department.
Typical buyer employers include companies within:
- Retail – Procuring products for a store’s product line (e.g. food products for a supermarket)
- Construction – Procuring goods to be used when building properties (timber, screws, appliances etc.)
- Oil and gas
- Public services
Which junior jobs progress to buyer roles?
Most buyers begin their career as a junior buyer (through a trainee or graduate program), however there are two roles that progress naturally into a buying position. These are:
Junior procurement and supply chain team member, responsible for performing inventory and administrative tasks including preparing and forwarding invoices, updating databases, filing, and organising documents for accounts.
administrative role, responsible for working with suppliers to place orders, reviewing and compiling delivery notes, quotes, price lists etc., and general office administration such as telephone work, maintaining internal databases, and filing.
Which senior jobs do buyers progress to?
A career as a buyer offers several opportunities to progress into senior and higher paid jobs, such as:
A senior buyer is responsible for negotiating long and short-term contracts with suppliers, alongside planning and implementing company-wide strategic purchasing plans.
Purchasing managers work across the business to find cost savings, develop corporate strategies and create process improvements. A purchasing manager will typically supervise the purchasing team.
A purchasing director is typically responsible for overseeing their company’s purchasing, logistics and operations departments, alongside establishing company guidelines, developing best practices and leading cost-reduction initiatives.
Buyer job description – conclusion
Buying is a pressurised and challenging profession which is in demand across the UK and internationally, with a wide range of industries and employers looking to employ great buyers.
The starting salary is acceptable, with an established buyer earning an attractive average salary. The position offers a lot of job satisfaction and the role is an essential component for many companies and across many industries. The valuable skills and experience gained in the buyer position can help progress the candidate through a successful and fruitful career.