Buying, Purchasing and Procurement
Consumer goods companies are popular employers, often because of the appeal to work for a well-known brand, the broad career opportunities and scope for development. The technological innovations influencing the marketplace and the trends shaping the relationship between companies and their consumer may also be an appeal of this sector.
Retail buyer may be the role which first comes to mind (see also Retail), or supply chain management (see also Transport and Logistics).
Employers many might not think about are Public Sector employers, particularly in Procurement, for example the Procurement Officer speaking in the Consumer Goods report on My Career Zone Digital, who has worked in this field for the Fire and Rescue service and for the Scottish Parliament.
All roles can lead to very specialist expertise. For example, Procurement of IT or Facilities Management and Buyer for specific goods, or not physical goods at all, e.g., media buyer.
Many career paths within these sectors are ideal for combining and making the most of analytical, organisational and communication skills.
For sector trends, statistics and major employers, please visit the Retail and Consumer Goods reports on My Career Zone Digital.
Career Zone Employability Schemes
To help increase your work experience and networks in this area.
Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremely useful, so try to get relevant vacation work or placements.
- Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.
- Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period.
- Professional Pathways: a suite of sector specific training courses and paid week-long internships that take place in June.
Have a look at the following brief videos for an overview of this sector and roles.
- Retail and Customer Services – icould
To see if there are any Exeter alumni working in this sector that you can get in touch with, go to the LinkedIn Alumni tool.
If you would like to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be very useful:
- Prospects: Overview of the UK’s Retail Sector– A summary of different retail careers, information on top employers, internships, and routes into sector careers.
- Target Jobs: Retail – An overview of the jobs, internships, events, and employers in the sector, as well as industry specific advice for career progression.
For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page and for a list general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. For sector specific job listings, the following resources may be particularly helpful:
- CIPS vacancy board – supply chain and procurement vacancies.
- Supply Chain Online – supply chain and procurement vacancies.
See also vacancy sources in the Retail sector and for other ideas for potential employers download a list of Employers of Exeter graduates in retail and buying.
If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies, or if you can gain exemption from some exams. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.
Many professional bodies listed in the Retail section are; with the most relevant being:
If you would like to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study.
It can often be useful to gain postgraduate qualifications in the relevant subject area if your undergraduate degree is in a different topic but, beware, there are many courses on the market, and they are not all equally successful in getting you that "dream job". You can always complement your degree with professional qualifications to show your commitment towards the industry (see Professional Bodies section).