Procurement careers

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Working in procurement is an important role within any organisation. A procurement/purchasing officer or buyer is tasked with making acquisitions with economics, sustainability and company ethics at the forefront of their decision making. With around two-thirds of an organisation’s budget spent on buying in products or services, the decisions made by a procurement professional are pivotal. A procurement professional can work across a wide range of sectors, in any organisation which requires buying decisions to be made; this could be within corporate settings, in transport companies or within international organisations.

Due to the range of sectors you could enter you would be advised to carefully consider the sector in which you would like to work as the buying decisions you will need to make will be dependent on the business' or organisation's needs. Having a sector to focus on can also make the process of job hunting easier as you will have a more targeted area to job search in. You will also get to know more about what is happening in your sector, allowing you to create applications which show your commercial awareness.

Procurement professionals can start in the industry with secondary school level qualifications, although larger or multinational firms will require a first degree, sometimes with stipulations about the level of secondary school qualification received (e.g. certain UCAS points). You will probably be encouraged to become a member of the CIPS and to hold a CIPD qualification, which could be gained in your first position.

Job roles

There are a number of job titles that procurement professionals might be looking to apply to:

Purchasing officer/manager or procurement officer/manager

This role is focused on client interaction and requires someone with good communication skills. Quite often the clients the purchasing officer works with will be colleagues from within their organisation, but the role will also require them to communicate effectively with contractors and contacts outside the organisation. The purchasing officer may also be required to assess the bids and tenders submitted by contractors and make decisions on the most suitable one for the business.

Trainee buyer

You may be responsible for the administration side of the procurement team, liaising with contractors, managing invoices, creating presentations and reports for the team and completing administrative duties for colleagues. This is a good entry level position to go into.

Buyer

Working within the procurement department, a buyer would order products and services as required by the purchasing officer. Therefore, client interaction and national and international travel and tracking market trends could also be an important part of the role. In some organisations buyer is the job title given to purchasing officer roles as described above.

Useful links

Routes in

As entry into this profession is possible from secondary school, you can apply for advertised entry-level procurement or buyer positions. However, it is also possible to build your CV whilst at LSE by getting relevant work experience, taking part in an internship, work experience or through work shadowing. Beyond LSE, apply for a graduate training scheme. 

Internships

Some companies offer internships specifically in the area of procurement. Search the websites of organisations you are interested in for details.

You would also be advised to contact employers that do not have formal internship or work experience schemes to see if they are able to give you some work experience, either one day a week during your studies or throughout your holidays. Information can be found on our website for writing speculative applications.

Graduate training schemes

Some companies offer graduate training schemes specifically in the area of procurement. Search the websites of organisations you are interested in for details.

For more graduate schemes see Inside Careers, Prospects and employers’ websites. Visit our resource centre to pick up copies of the Times top 100 graduate employers, The Guardian UK 300 and TARGETjobs which list employers with graduate vacancies.

You can also search LSE CareerHub for graduate jobs and find organisations who are coming on to campus to recruit LSE graduates.

Advertised positions

Whether you are looking for an entry level role or you are an experienced hire it is possible to enter the procurement market by applying to advertised positions. As well as the websites of employers, websites that list advertised procurement positions include:

Recruitment agencies

Before approaching a recruitment agency, please read our advice on how to get the most from the interaction. See recruitment agencies: the basics.

Resources

Links to external sites

Some of the links on this page are imported from our Diigo social bookmarking account. You can view all our links directly on our Diigo site. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information contained on our website and to update it regularly, LSE cannot be held responsible for the content on external websites.

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