Procurement is an integral part of the supply chain management cycle that involves sourcing and securing goods or services for a business.
Building a successful career in procurement requires an ability to manage budgets, strong attention to detail, excellent people skills, ability to identify and control risks, and a passion for the industry.
Why choose a career in procurement?
Working in procurement is an excellent career choice. Not only is it a dynamic and rewarding role, but it’s also versatile, too. Procurement specialists are required in many businesses, and span a wide range of industries.
To work in procurement, you’ll have a knack for ‘big picture’ thinking, but also be able to pay attention to the finer details. As procurement is one step in the overall supply chain, working effectively with your colleagues is vital in this role. The type, cost and nature of the goods or services will have a flow-on effect for the whole business – from operations, and production, and all the way to final delivery or installation.
Building effective working relationships with your suppliers is a vital part of succeeding in procurement, especially if the industry you’re working in requires highly specialised or time-sensitive inputs.
Skilled procurement specialists are currently in demand across Australia, due to the number of infrastructure and construction projects in progress.
How to become a Procurement Manager
Becoming a procurement manager usually requires formal education and training. After graduating with a relevant qualification, having on-the-job experience is the next step to becoming a well-rounded procurement professional.
A typical pathway for a procurement manager may look like the following:
1: Complete a Diploma in Business (Procurement) (BSB51518)
Over 50% of procurement managers are diploma qualified. During a self-paced online qualification, you’ll complete units such as Manage a Supply Chain, Manage Supplier Relationships, Finalise Contracts, Manage Procurement Risk and more. The diploma consists of both core and elective units.
2: Secure your first role in procurement
A good entry point is as a procurement coordinator or purchasing officer.
Although procurement and purchasing roles often overlap, one of the differences is that procurement roles are responsible for the sourcing of supplies and selection of products, and purchasing roles deal with the process of ordering goods, services and supplies.
3: Look for internal promotions or external opportunities
As you grow and build on your skills in procurement, keep an eye out for opportunities to work in more senior positions. Be ready to take on training or leadership opportunities if they arise.
4: Keep learning
The supply chain management industry is always changing, particularly regarding new technologies and software. Keep on top of these changes by seeking professional development opportunities or further training. This attitude will give you the best chance of success when scaling the career ladder in procurement. An excellent qualification to undertake here is the Diploma of Leadership & Management (BSB51918).
Tips for how to start as a Procurement Officer
Starting as a procurement officer requires a solid education. The Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB51518) is a perfect, well-rounded option.
During your studies, network as much as you can with people already working in the role. Ensure you manage connections with past or current colleagues at your workplace.
Procurement roles are present in many workplaces, so make the most of your existing connections. Not only will it give you real-world insight into the day-to-day requirements of the role, but it can also assist when it comes to job hunting.
Look at the industry you’re working in (or have experience in) and think about what sort of opportunities you may be able to leverage to break into your first role as a procurement officer.
If you’re working in retail, see if there’s an opportunity to undertake work experience with head office. Not only will you learn more about their supply chain, but you’ll also make meaningful connections, too.
If you’re currently working in construction, speak to your project manager and see if they know anyone who may be able to give you insight into the specifics of procurement in your industry.
Don’t forget your soft skills like communication, empathy and time management, as these are what sets applicants apart from each other during recruitment.
Procurement Career Salary Guide
Procurement salaries vary based on the particular position, the company itself and your individual experience. Overall, procurement is a well-paying career choice with plenty of room for growth.
- As a guide, starting salaries in Australia for those working in roles such as a Procurement Coordinator or Purchase Officer are $65,000 – $75,000.
- Mid-level roles such as Contracts Manager or Procurement Analyst can range from $95,000 up to $150,000.
- Salaries in senior or management roles like Procurement Manager or Procurement Director usually range from $150,000 to $280,000.
- Chief Procurement Officers (CPO) can often earn more than $300,000, dependent on the industry and their experience.
Best Procurement Career Options
Procurement is a great career choice because of the diversity of roles and industries you can work in across your career. The range of options means you can tailor your dream role to your interests and hobbies.
Love fashion? A procurement role as a category manager in an apparel or accessories business could be a great fit!
Like cars and machinery? Why not consider one of the many roles for procurement professionals in the automotive industry?
Why become a Procurement specialist
You may find that your previous work experience is useful when taking the next step in your procurement career, thanks to the many transferable skills. These could be specialist skills such as managing budgets, building supplier relationships, communication or workplace health and safety.
Continuing to develop your skills at all stages of your career will reward you with earning potential and professional growth. Coupling a formal procurement qualification with ‘soft’ skills will give you the best chance of achieving success as a procurement specialist in the area that suits you best.