How to become a purchasing manager

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


There is no set entry route to become a purchasing manager but it may be useful to get a relevant foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a subject like:

  • business studies
  • purchasing and logistics
  • purchasing and supply
  • marketing
  • supply chain management

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

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You could get into this job through a commercial procurement and supply higher apprenticeship. 

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

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You could start by working as an administrator or assistant in a company's purchasing department. You could work your way up as you get more experience.

You could also take professional qualifications through an organisation like the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Direct Application

You can apply directly for jobs if you have several years' experience in purchasing. If you have a degree you can join a company's graduate management training scheme.

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Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply for professional development training and industry contacts, which could help with your career.

Further information

You can find more advice about becoming a purchasing manager from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • business management skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • deciding what goods, services and equipment are needed
  • monitoring and forecasting stock levels
  • researching and finding new products and suppliers
  • assessing tenders from potential suppliers
  • negotiating prices and agreeing contracts
  • keeping up to date with market trends

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

You can improve your career prospects with a qualification from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Purchase and Supply Category Support Apprentice

  • Wage: £223.20 Weekly
  • Location: Bristol

Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprentice

  • Wage: £192.03 Weekly
  • Location: Nottingham

Courses In England

Level 4 Apprenticeship Standard 222 - Commercial Procurement and Supply

  • Start date: 01 September 2021
  • Location:

CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement Commercial Contracting (M3)

  • Start date: 25 January 2021
  • Location: Waterlooville

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