Day 5, Buyer



Wait, isn’t that the job of a customer?

Turns out this is a legit career, buyers are employed to go out and choose and purchase products for the organizations they represent to sell.



They have many tasks in order to be able to do this: They have to evaluate which suppliers to create contracts with based on price, quality, and delivery speed. They must attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers. They must research and analyze information to determine reasonable prices and negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization. They have to follow up with suppliers when goods are defective or unacceptable and determine corrective action.

Holly Russel, a senior buyer at Net-A-Porter sums up her job as finding the best products for the customers. She also shares that her job involves a lot of research and analysis of the companies they could potentially buy from, and what their consumers are looking for. She has to travel a lot (sometimes as much as 6 months out of the year) and visit auctions, showrooms, boutiques. Deciding the volume, sizing etc. they want their products to be is another part of her job.


Personality and skills required for this position:

Business, statistical/ mathematical, decision and negotiation skills are required in this job. When negotiating with contractors or suppliers it is important that the buyer has good interpersonal skills, exhibits confidence and has good product knowledge. One has to be exceptionally good at conducting research whether its on

How to get into this career:

Some organizations require candidates to have a bachelors or even a masters degree in business or supply management. There are many organizations that employ candidates based on their experience in the retail and buying industry though.

Working in retail and then making connections into the buying industry is a common trend in getting a career as a buyer.

Once employed buyers get typically 1 year of on the job training before being able to meet contractors and perform tasks alone.


The working hours:

Buyers work full time and working overtime is common.


The pay:

Currently the Median annual salary for USA $ 89,564. South Africa’s comes in at R225,697 (not too shabby!)

The pros:

-Buyers often specialize in different product categories from fashion items to appliances to food and so it is safe to say that most industries employ buyers. In other words, there is a very broad spectrum of jobs in this career.

-This job can involve a lot of around the world traveling.

-The salary is respectable to say the least.

-Can often apply for entry level positions with only a high school diploma.

-Your products can be influential in introducing trends eg. the green movement.


The cons:

-Job growth projection for this career is below average for all product categories except health care and computer systems design and related services firms.

-It is common to work overtime

-It can be a highly stressful job as your decisions and negotiations determine your organizations profit.


Side note*

People can become confused when trying to differentiate between buyers, purchasing managers and purchasing agents. This site outlines the differences.


My conclusion and rating on this career:

Traveling and influencing trends? Yes please! There are many nitty gritty parts to this job such as analyzing stats and working overtime but I feel the positives of this career cancel out the negatives. Who knows, perhaps one day I shall find myself doing this job. You, Buyer Career, earn a ripe 8.5/10 from me!

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