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Buyers are responsible for purchasing the goods that a company sells or
the equipment it uses to manufacture goods.
A buyer's duties include:
negotiating prices with suppliers
making sure that goods arrive on time and suppliers are paid
presenting new ideas to senior managers
analysing sales figures and forecasting future sales
researching new products and suppliers, for example by checking
catalogues or attending trade fairs.
In certain industries specialist skills are applied, for example, in
retail, a fashion buyer advises design teams about trends when new
ranges are planned.
How to become a buyer
A degree, particularly in business studies or a related subject is an
asset for aspiring buyers, but a degree is not essential for those with
relevant experience in retail, merchandising or business.
For some buying roles, specialist qualifications or knowledge is
required. For example a degree in fashion for a fashion buying
Skills and knowledge required
good spoken and written communication skills
good mathematical skills, for working with figures and budgets
the ability to analyse and assess information
good organisational skills
accuracy and attention to detail
negotiating and networking skills
good business sense
the ability to work well as part of a team
the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
Salaries for assistant buyers range between £12,000 and £20,000 a year.
Promotion to the role of buyer will lead to earnings of between £22,000
and £40,000 a year. Senior buyers and purchasing managers can earn
£50,000 a year or more.
Buyers work standard office hours – 9am-5pm or 6pm – Monday to Friday,
with some possible overtime to meet deadlines when necessary. Some
buyers work part-time.