Purchasing Managers
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Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in purchasing materials, products, and services. Includes wholesale or retail trade merchandising managers and procurement managers.
Titles for this career often contain these words
About 63% of purchasing managers have at least a bachelor's degree.
Education attained by purchasing managers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More purchasing managers have bachelor's degrees than 75% of other careeers.
Workforce size
Purchasing managers, with 71,700 workers, are near the middle of all careers in the number employed.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for purchasing managers are expected to grow by 4%, and should have about 6,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Purchasing managers are less likely to be automated than 84% of other careers.
Context: Median Salary
How do salaries for purchasing managers compare to other jobs' salaries?
Distribution: What salary can you expect?
See what most purchasing managers earn.
Women account for 47% of purchasing managers -- that's a larger percentage than 58% of other jobs.
Gender of purchasing managers
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For purchasing managers, the median men's salary was 18% more the median woman's salary.
About 17% of purchasing managers are minority, and 11% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of purchasing managers
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Context: Foreign-born workers (11%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Purchasing Managers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. Blue indicates low density, with lighter shades moving to yellow indicating higher numbers working in this profession.
How do benefits for this career compare to other jobs?
Context: Employer offers health insurance
Context: Employer offers a pension plan
Context: workers are union members
Worker concerns
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of purchasing managers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (90%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (52%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (39%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (33%)
Salary and diversity
What do purchasing managers earn?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides company-reported job titles and corresonding salaries. This data excludes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for purchasing managers (BLS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
The American Community Survey (ACS) asks individuals to report their occupation and salary, and as such includes self-employed workers.
Distribution: Salaries for purchasing managers (ACS Salary Data)
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
Purchasing Managers: Inflation-adjusted salary trend
This job's median $77KAll jobs' median $45K$76K$44K070809101112131415161718$0$50K$100K$150K
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, giving us a picture of what employers most typically hire purchasing managers.
Employers of Purchasing Managers (ACS)
Private for-profit (73.2%)
Private not-for-profit (5.8%)
Local government (4.3%)
State government (5.2%)
Federal government (10.3%)
Self-employed incorporated (0.7%)
Self-employed not incorporated (0.5%)
Working without pay (0.0%)
Distribution: Salaries of purchasing managers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$75K$75K$88K$63K$84K$65K$72K$53K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000$250,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of purchasing managers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Salary growth for purchasing managers

Is this a job that rewards experience, or is this job most likely a part of a career ladder? The higher a job's experience quotient, the more experience is rewarded with pay increases. Jobs in the green range have the best rewards with experience.

Take a minute to look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working at each age change. Does this seem to be a job for the young or the old, or could it be a career offering steady salary growth for many years?

Salary distribution
Number employed

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Purchasing managers and gender

With 47% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 58% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
Gender of Purchasing managers
Men (53%)
Women (47%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

The median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 19%. The situation is a little better for purchasing managers, with the median salary for men 18% higher than the median salary for women.

Context: Salary Inequity

The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary for all but about 20 jobs in which women typically earn more than men.


We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Race and origin of purchasing managers

Here we check out the diversity of origin in this career. There is a smaller percentage of minority purchasing managers than for 65% of other careers. As with minority workers, there is also a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of purchasing managers
White (81% )
Black (8% )
Asian (6% )
Multiracial (2% )
Other (2% )
Hispanic (0% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
Distribution: Salaries for purchasing managers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$60K$68K$75K$75K$75K$76K$76K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherAmerican IndianBlackMultiracialWhiteAsianHispanic
Distribution: Salaries for purchasing managers by nativity
$74K$75K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

Purchasing managers and Part-time/Full-time employment

We've found that somes jobs hava a huge number of part-time workers, and that typically most who are working part-time are doing so because they cannot find full-time work or the job they have cannot provide full-time hours. With 2% part-time workers, this occupation has a lower percentage of part-time workers than 94% of careers.

Context: Part-time workers in the workforce
Why workers are part-time
Full-Time is less than 35 hours a week
Retired/Social Security limit on earnings
Could not find full-time work
Seasonal work
Slack work/business conditions
Health/medical limitations
Child care problems
Other family/personal obligations
Other reasons
Distribution: Salaries by part-time/full-time status

The salary distributions for full-time and part-time purchasing managers is shown following.

$26K$75K$0$50K$100K$150KPart-time workersFull-time workers
Pathways to this career
Education attained by purchasing managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), purchasing managers typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as purchasing managers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey.

Details: Education and training recommended for purchasing managers

Purchasing managers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree and some work experience in procurement.

Educational requirements for buyers and purchasing agents usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for purchasing managers

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers may require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional 4-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP) and the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) offer preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Education attained by purchasing managers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for purchasing managers? Below we see the distribution of purchasing managers salaries based on the education attained.

$48K$57K$62K$61K$80K$102K$94K$85K$0$50K$100K$150K$200KNone (1%)High School (11%)Some College (18%)Associate's/Cert. (8%)Bachelor's Degree (40%)Master's Degree (20%)Professional Degree (2%)Doctorate (1%)

We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.

College majors held by purchasing managers

This table shows the college majors held by people working as purchasing managers.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Percentage of Purchasing managers with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
The link between degrees and careers

With the following sankey diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as purchasing managers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. We hope this provides ideas for similar jobs and similar fields of study.

Specialized ManagersAccountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersFirst-Line Supervisors of...Wholesale and Manufacturi...Chief executives and legi...Labor Relations Specialis...First-Line Supervisors of...Customer Service Represen...Elementary and Middle Sch...Retail SalespersonsMarketing ManagersSales ManagersMarket Research Analysts ...Sales Representatives of ...Lawyers, and judges, magi...First-Line Supervisors of...Bookkeeping, Accounting, ...Financial and Investment ...Personal Financial Adviso...Securities, Commodities, ...Loan OfficersManagement AnalystsPostsecondary TeachersEducation and childcare a...Paralegals and Legal Assi...Specialized Social Worker...Educational, Guidance, an...Specialized PsychologistsRegistered NursesLogisticiansPurchasing AgentsPurchasing ManagersGeneral and Operations Ma...Transportation, Storage, ...Production, Planning, and...Secretaries and Administr...Business Management andAdministrationGeneral BusinessMarketingAccountingFinanceEconomicsPolitical Science andGovernmentPsychologyOperations Logistics andE-CommerceCommunicationsAll other degreesThis jobTop 10 majorsEach major's top ten jobs
What college major is your best entry?

About 63% of people working as purchasing managers have at least a bachelor's degree. Each dot represents a college major leading to these jobs, with the dots to the right representing the majors sending the most of their grads into this career. The dots at the top are the majors who earn the most working in this career.

Darker colors have a larger percentage with graduate degreesOverall median salary0.0%2.0%4.0%6.0%8.0%10.0%12.0%14.0%16.0%18.0%Percentage with this major$50,000$60,000$70,000$80,000$90,000$100,000$110,000$120,000$130,000$140,000$150,000Median salary with this major
Switching Careers
The most common next careers for purchasing managers

What jobs will most purchasing managers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of purchasing managers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Purchasing ManagersPurchasing AgentsWholesale and Retail BuyersFirst-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales WorkersMarketing and sales managersProcurement ClerksFirst-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support WorkersGeneral Office ClerksTransportation, Storage, and Distribution ManagersSecretaries and administrative assistantsAccountants and Auditors
Lateral job transitions for purchasing managers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 9 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as purchasing managers as well as 1% of respondents after working as purchasing managers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Prior and next careers for purchasing managers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as purchasing managers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of purchasing managers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Variation by state
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most purchasing managers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as purchasing managers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
Number of Purchasing Managers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where purchasing managers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for purchasing managers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for purchasing managers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
Location-adjusted median salary
Median salary
Use this data source
Location-adjusted median salary for Purchasing Managers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which purchasing managers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the tabs and education selector to find other careers that might be a good fit for you.

How should the career similarity be computed?

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?