International buyer's job description

13 Jan 2023


Do you want to acquire commercial skills in an international context? The job of international buyer could be for you. Depending on the company's purchasing strategy, the international buyer's mission is to find suppliers throughout the world and negotiate the best quality/price ratio. Role, skills, training, salary... The IPAG business school presents the job of international buyer in detail.


What is an international buyer?

The role of the international buyer, as the name suggests, is to purchase goods or services from suppliers located in different geographical areas on behalf of their company. Their objective is to seek out and negotiate the best products in terms of cost, quality and delivery time. His role is essential in the company's purchasing strategy in order to guarantee his company a supply under the best possible conditions. Among the professions in international trade, the position of international buyer is widely sought after by many sectors such as distribution and industry.

What are the tasks of an international buyer?

This job consists of defining a purchasing strategy in line with the company's needs in order to prospect for a panel of coherent and appropriate suppliers at international level. The international buyer's mission is to ensure good stock management and sustainable supply for the company. Depending on the company's activity, this purchasing manager must find a product, a service, raw materials or foodstuffs at the best price. To do this, he/she identifies and searches for suppliers throughout the world by means of invitations to tender which he/she draws up before starting negotiations.

Depending on his objectives, this professional evaluates the commercial proposals and negotiates the various terms of the contract concerning price, quantity, transport and delivery times. In an international context, negotiations and relations can be more or less complex from one country to another, which is why the international buyer must ensure that the contract is respected and resolve any disputes.

This expert manages a portfolio of international suppliers whom he or she canvasses, builds loyalty and develops. To maintain their commercial relations, international buyers travel both within France and abroad. They expand their network by monitoring the international market and taking part in trade fairs to identify potential suppliers, service providers or subcontractors.

What skills are needed to become an international buyer?

The job of international buyer requires various professional skills in management, commercial techniques, negotiation and law (contract law, customs regulations). He or she has an excellent knowledge of the products he or she is responsible for acquiring, as well as of manufacturing techniques, logistical constraints and legal issues. An international buyer is fluent in English. Mastery of an additional language, particularly that of the country in which they are doing business, is an undeniable asset.

In addition to technical skills, this professional must have good interpersonal and negotiation skills, as well as a sense of argumentation, in order to obtain the best deals for his or her company.

Organisational skills, curiosity and an analytical mind are qualities that make the difference with recruiters for this type of position. This expert must also demonstrate rigour, tenacity and adaptability. Indeed, the management of international commercial relations requires constant vigilance because the level of negotiation and respect for commitments is not similar in all countries of the world.

What qualifications are required to become an international buyer?

The job of international buyer is accessible with a diploma from Bac +2 (BTS or DUT type) to Bac +5. To train for this position, the IPAG business school offers you the BTS in international trade in Paris or Nice to acquire the necessary knowledge of commercial strategies, prospecting and sales techniques. Students can continue their studies by preparing a Bachelor's degree in international trade in order to specialise and acquire the fundamentals of management and international trade. This course offers the possibility of practical training and professional experience.

Graduates can choose to deepen their knowledge by joining the international business & supply chain master's programme. Thanks to its specialisation, this course prepares future international buyers and purchasing managers for international logistics, the steering of a purchasing strategy and supply chain management. IPAG also offers you the possibility of joining an MBA, a course of study open to the international scene and offering 6 specialisations, 5 of which are taught in English. Our programmes offer the future international buyer numerous opportunities in terms of job offers and career development.

What is the salary of an international buyer?

The salary of a junior international buyer is on average between 22 k€ and 35 k€ per year. After gaining experience, the average salary is around €50k, and can reach €70k for a senior profile.

So, are you ready to jump borders by becoming an international buyer or by opting for another profession in international trade? IPAG offers a wide range of training courses, with full-time, sandwich or distance learning programmes. And if you would like to discover the human resources professions, the school also has courses in this field with attractive prospects.