Ins and outs of being a Procurement Officer
Interested in a career as a Procurement Officer? Today the Job Mail team not only takes a closer look at what procurement actually is, but the skills and qualifications needed in the profession. If you are eager to get started in procurement jobs advertised on Job Mail, this blog post is for you.
What is procurement?
Procurement is defined as the act of ‘getting’ service or goods. In the case of a Procurement Officer, this word defines the very obligations of his or her job.
Procurement in the occupational sense entails the buying of goods and or services from specific suppliers through developing contracts. Chief Product Officer (CPO), Purchasing Officer, and Purchasing Agent are some of the many names for Procurement Officer jobs.
The Procurement Job Description
A procurement job description will vary for employer to employer, but are typically comprised of the following:
Step 1: Research
- Scoping out market price trends to assess the availability and optimal time to obtain goods
- Researching the best products
- Seeking out the best suppliers
Step 2: Planning
- Meeting and negotiating with suppliers
- Preparing contracts or bids to suppliers
Step 3: Follow-up & Administration
- Write reports on purchases
- Balance spreadsheets of purchases
- Evaluate past and present purchases to optimize for the future
Generally, there may be procedures and policies to help you throughout this process. However, many parts of the job description is driven by the initiative of the Procurement Officer. Many steps in the path to being awarded contracts depend on your sound judgement, good interpersonal skills, and your initiative to get the deal through.
A Procurement Officer may also preside over a few employees and are aided by procurement clerks, buyers, and analysts who can help with any research, analysis of markets, and in some cases, purchasing and evaluating in the field. Overall, good management skills would be an asset as there is certainly a lot to keep track of!
Skills of a Procurement Officer
You will surely spend a lot of time working with others. Unlike many professions where you are often hidden in an office, you will find that the procurement job description calls for relatively equal time spent researching and developing, as you would spend time away with clients executing and finalising your prepared deals.
With this in mind, as a Procurement Officer, a few skills and attributes are key to you succeeding in Procurement Officer jobs:
- Research skills to source the best products and prices
- Negotiation skills for writing up and finalising those deals
- Financial acumen to understand and forecast price trends
- Public speaking skills for trade conferences and presenting on your market of expertise
- Organisational skills to keep track of your sources and contracts
These skills and characteristics are known to be essential in procurement jobs. It also does not hurt to have a little charm, know how, and a go getter attitude to chase down the best contracts with the best suppliers.
Professionals in this field can run an entire operation on his or her own, from balancing sheets to negotiating deals.
Training, qualifications and salary
A positive attribute of these jobs is that one can become a Procurement Officer from a wide range of backgrounds. The allowance for diversity in the field makes the procurement job field an exciting and variant one.
Budding professionals can gain experience in fields such as finance, management, economics, marketing and business. The reason that most of the fields for procurement courses are business and finance related is due to the reliance on the understanding of markets.
While you may not necessarily need formal training in markets (mathematics and statistics are fine courses to study as well), they will certainly help you to understand the key principles behind procurement.
Relevant training programmes and courses can be found at a number of universities in South Africa as well as at many training academies and online schools. You can find these courses under the terms “Procurement Courses”, or “Logistics and Supply Chain Management”.
You can attain a diploma, a bachelor’s degree, or complete a short programme of 52 hours. After attaining an entry-level position, you will undergo a training period in which you will get real world experience to understand exactly what procurement is, beyond the classroom.
According to PayScale, the average salary of a Procurement Officer in South Africa is R193 345 per year, with an average hourly rate of R71.33. The career is rewarding as you will often be eligible for bonuses throughout the duration of your procurement job.
Entry level (0-5 years) Procurement Officer jobs typically pay around R175k and increase to as high as R300k as you gain more and more experience. Professionals in the Johannesburg areas make the most money, followed by Cape Town and then Pretoria.
Ready to start an exciting journey? Register your CV and start applying for procurement jobs on Job Mail now!