Employment of procurement clerks is expected to decline through 2014 as a result of increasing automation. The need for procurement clerks will be reduced as the use of computers to place orders directly with supplierscalled electronic data interchangeand as ordering over the Internetknown as “e-procurement”become more commonplace. In addition, procurement authority for some purchases is now being given to employees in the departments originating the purchase. These departments may be issued procurement cards, which are similar to credit cards that enable a department to charge purchases up to a specified amount.
Although overall employment in the occupation is expected to decline, job outlook varies by industry. For example, employment will decline in manufacturing, the primary employer of procurement clerks in the goods-producing sector of the economy. In contrast, employment of procurement clerks will increase in some industries in the service-providing sectorsuch as retail trade, professional services, and health carewhich are beginning to realize that a centralized procurement department may be more cost effective than units making purchases independently, as many service companies had been doing. However, most job openings will arise out of the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Persons with good writing and communication skills, along with computer skills, will have the best opportunities for employment.