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Buyers are responsible for choosing products, finding suppliers and negotiating prices. Other aspects of the role include making sure goods arrive on time and suppliers are paid. Due to their knowledge of what is selling and popular with customers they are often required to write reports to help senior management interpret sales forecasts and predict future trends based on analysis of consumer buying behaviour. Some buyers are responsible for quality control and the flow of stock.
There are no formal entry requirements to get into buying but a degree is preferred. Depending on the company some employers may ask for specific subjects, for example a technical subject for some engineering manufacturers, or a degree in fashion design or textiles, for fashion buying.
You need to be a good communicator and be able to be a confident negotiator. A strong sense of commercial awareness is essential. Many companies especially retail stores offer graduate management trainee schemes. Career prospects, it is argued, are more favourable within a larger organisation but you have to demonstrate ability and the appropriate qualifications to be considered for promotion.
Graduate starting out in buying may earn £12,500 - £17,000 a year. After several years experience, a typical salary may range from £16,000 to £26,000 and senior buyers can earn in excess of £50,000.
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