Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products
Buy merchandise or commodities, other than farm products, for resale to consumers at the wholesale or retail level, including both durable and nondurable goods. Analyze past buying trends, sales records, price, and quality of merchandise to determine value and yield. Select, order, and authorize payment for merchandise according to contractual agreements. May conduct meetings with sales personnel and introduce new products. May negotiate contracts. Includes assistant wholesale and retail buyers of nonfarm products.
Sample of reported job titles: Buyer, Grocery Buyer, Procurement Specialist, Purchaser, Purchasing Coordinator, Retail Buyer, Trader
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Buy merchandise or commodities for resale to wholesale or retail consumers.
- Negotiate prices, discount terms, or transportation arrangements with suppliers.
- Examine, select, order, or purchase merchandise consistent with quality, quantity, specification requirements, or other factors, such as environmental soundness.
- Recommend mark-up rates, mark-down rates, or merchandise selling prices.
- Obtain information about customer needs or preferences by conferring with sales or purchasing personnel.
- Authorize payment of invoices or return of merchandise.
- Monitor and analyze sales records, trends, or economic conditions to anticipate consumer buying patterns, company sales, and needed inventory.
- Collaborate with vendors to obtain or develop desired products.
- Inspect merchandise or products to determine quality, value, or yield.
- Conduct sales meetings to introduce new merchandise.
- Consult with store or merchandise managers about budgets or goods to be purchased.
- Provide clerks with information to print on price tags, such as price, mark-ups or mark-downs, manufacturer number, season code, or style number.
- Train or supervise sales or clerical staff.
- Determine which products should be featured in advertising, the advertising medium to be used, or when the ads should be run.
- Monitor competitors’ sales activities by following their advertisements in newspapers or other media.
- Analyze environmental aspects of competing merchandise when making buying decisions.
- Compare transportation options to determine the most energy-efficient options.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Accounting software — Intuit QuickBooks
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — Qlik Tech QlikView
- Calendar and scheduling software — Contact management software; Scheduling software
- Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint
- Customer relationship management CRM software — Claritas ConsumerPoint
- Data base user interface and query software — Microsoft Access ; Oracle software
- Development environment software — Eclipse IDE
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Biztrak Business Solutions Biztrak; JDA Software Group Advanced Warehouse Replenishment by E3; Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne ; SAP software (see all 8 examples)
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Graphics software
- Human resources software — Oracle Taleo
- Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Web browser software
- Inventory management software — Inventory control systems
- Materials requirements planning logistics and supply chain software — Infor Supply Chain Management; Kliger-Weiss Infosystems; Materials requirement planning MRP software; Oracle PeopleSoft Enterprise Supply Planning Multi-Site Material Planner
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Microsoft Windows
- Point of sale POS software — Millennium Software Atrex; Plexis Software Plexis POS; Specialized Business Solutions Keystroke POS; Windward Software Windward System Five (see all 8 examples)
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Procurement software — Oracle Advanced Procurement; Sourcing Simulator
- Project management software — Microsoft Project
- Risk management data and analysis software — Enterprise risk management software ERMS
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Web page creation and editing software — Facebook ; LinkedIn
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
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- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Management of Financial Resources — Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
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- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Purchase stocks of merchandise or supplies.
- Negotiate contracts with clients or service providers.
- Discuss business strategies, practices, or policies with managers.
- Purchase products or services.
- Determine the value of goods or services.
- Advise others on business or operational matters.
- Confer with personnel to coordinate business operations.
- Authorize financial actions.
- Disburse funds from clients accounts to creditors.
- Analyze consumer trends.
- Analyze market conditions or trends.
- Obtain information about goods or services.
- Supervise employees.
- Train personnel to enhance job skills.
- Create marketing materials.
- Research issues related to the environment or sustainable business practices.
- Evaluate logistics methods to reduce environmental impact.
- Develop business or market strategies.
- Identify strategic business investment opportunities.
Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities
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- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 89% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 82% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 88% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 56% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 57% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 53% responded “Very important results.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 50% responded “Very important.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Deal With External Customers — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
- Letters and Memos — 18% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 47% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 43% responded “More than half the time.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 31% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Physical Proximity — 43% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 31% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Consequence of Error — 33% responded “Fairly serious.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|20||High school diploma or equivalent
|14||Less than high school diploma|
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Interest code: EC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
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Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Buyers and Purchasing Agents.
Employment data for Buyers and Purchasing Agents.
Industry data for Buyers and Purchasing Agents.
|Median wages (2020)||$32.06 hourly, $66,690 annual|
|Employment (2020)||439,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||39,500|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Purchasing Society
- Institute for Supply Management
- National Association of State Procurement Officials
- NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents
- Universal Public Procurement Certification Council
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