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What Does a Procurement Administrator Do?

By Kesha Ward
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A procurement administrator oversees the process obtaining services from a vendor as well as managing procurement and purchasing staff. The role of the this professional requires knowledge of procedures for the purchase of services and goods for a company. Businesses are often looking for ways to acquire goods at a competitive price, and it is the job of the procurement administrator to oversee the processes involved in making those acquisitions.

The administrator in a procurement department is responsible for managing the daily operations of the purchasing and procurement division of a company. He or she is in charge of supervising personnel as well as reviewing contract agreements. The administrator also reviews purchasing requirements for contracts when the company is soliciting goods and services from vendors. There are occasions when the procurement department will review the qualifications of vendors to ensure the best and most reliable service available is being used.

In most companies, the procurement administrator reports directly to a senior manager. The administrator has to consider the company's fiscal status and capabilities when obtaining contracts for goods and services. He or she is also often responsible for conducting meetings concerning the hiring of new staff, personnel issues, and the technical needs of the purchasing or procurement division. Administrators may also assign, supervise, and review the work of procurement operations staff.

The procurement administrator may meet regularly with senior management to keep them abreast of any changes in the procurement process. Administrators may also offer instruction and training to procurement personnel, as well as visiting buyers and vendors. They may also review bids for services and contracts to ensure that those bids are in compliance with current procurement policies.

Analytical skills are important for a procurement administrator, and he or she may need to quickly review contracts to identify any issues that may come up. Administrators must also have the ability to efficiently use computer applications and have a thorough understanding of the procurement information system used by the company. Procurement information systems are often used to create detailed purchasing reports.

The procurement administrator also conducts cost analyses and works with company purchasing budgets. Budgeting is a critical component of an effective procurement process and the management of a company as a whole.

What Is a Procurement Administrator?

Procurement administrators usually provide support for their organizations' procurement team. Some organizations refer to them as purchasing administrators. As each workplace has its own unique structure and workflows, the procurement administrator's role adapts to best meet the team's needs.

Depending on how an organization defines the role, a procurement administrator may have a mix of clerical and general administrative duties. This position may or may not be a managerial role, but that can vary with each workplace. Besides analytical and communication skills, this professional should possess other key abilities to perform the job:

  • Time management
  • Collaboration
  • Customer service
  • Critical thinking
  • Negotiation
  • Finance 
  • Math skills

Technical skills are also essential, but the specifics depend on the organization and industry. Procurement administrators should also be familiar with industry specifics, especially purchasing practices. You don't need a degree in chemistry to work in procurement for a chemical company, but you should at least know how the chemicals industry operates and what supplies and services are typically required.

How Much Do Procurement Administrators Make?

Procurement administrator salaries vary by industry, organization and location. Most earn between $37,000 and $60,000 per year, with a median nationwide salary of $47,000 annually. Procurement administrators tend to receive the highest salaries if they work on the West Coast, in the Northeast or the Upper Great Lakes region. When job hunting and negotiating your salary, you may find some annual salary statistics helpful:

  • Highest average salary: Oregon, $59,291
  • Lowest average salary: Vermont, $39,425
  • Closest to nationwide median: North Carolina, $47,166
  • Highest paying city: Sacramento, $57,026

How To Become a Procurement Administrator

How do you prepare for a procurement administration career? A combination of education, skills and experience are key to landing your first job and subsequent positions. Whether you're just out of high school or you're considering a career change, you must have some essential qualifications.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% decline in purchasing manager, buyer and agent jobs between 2020 and 2030. The BLS cites increased automation and outsourcing as factors contributing to this trend. However, this projection doesn't tell the whole story. Many senior purchasing staff will retire over the next several years. As they exit the workforce, new hires will be needed to replace them.

With the BLS' prediction, you should expect intense competition for procurement administration jobs. To get a better understanding of the specific skills, education and experience you'll need, it's a good idea to peruse job descriptions. Even if you're not actively job-hunting, knowing what employers require can guide you in your career development.

Education and Training

As current procurement administrator job listings reveal, education requirements can vary. Some employers will hire candidates with only high school diplomas. Yet more workplaces want their procurement professionals to have at least an associate or bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests a bachelor's degree in business, finance or supply management.

Computer and Tech Skills

You don't need to be a computer engineer whiz to succeed as a procurement administrator. However, you should be proficient with office productivity suites such as Microsoft 365. Each person's idea of proficiency may be a little different, but employers are generally looking for intermediate-level skills: pivot tables, advanced formatting, macros and V-lookup, for instance. Out of the Microsoft productivity suite, you'll want to focus more on building your Excel skills.

To land your first job in procurement administration, you should also have extensive knowledge of enterprise resource planning systems. Commonly used ERP systems include SAP, Oracle Netsuite, Sage Intacct, PeopleSoft and Microsoft Dynamics. Proficiency in at least one of these, especially SAP or Oracle, can give you a leg up in the job market.

Work Experience

Employers generally prefer two to five years of relevant job experience when hiring a procurement administrator. Depending on the employer, they may desire this experience in lieu of or along with certain educational credentials. If you've worked in a similar position or have transferrable skills and experience, you may stand a better chance of getting hired. Other options include internships, part-time jobs, freelancing and job shadowing.

Licenses and Certifications

Purchasing administrators have many options to get professional certification. There's the CPP, the Certified Purchasing Professional granted by the American Purchasing Society. Others include Certified Supply Chain Management from the Association for Supply Chain Management plus Certified Professional Public Buyer granted by the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council. There are many more, so you'll want to research which ones will benefit your particular job search the most.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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