Careers in public procurement
The Government of Canada is hiring motivated professionals interested in a career in public procurement – close to 1,000 procurement professionals in the next two years.
Every year, federal procurement specialists purchase over $22 billion of goods, services and construction on behalf of the Government of Canada through its procurement process.
Procurement professionals come from different backgrounds and work in many areas.
Public procurement involves contracting services and products to help the Government of Canada better serve Canadians.
The Government of Canada purchases everything from uniforms and boots to tanks and fighter jets for the military; from tablets and software to building large Enterprise Data Centers; from smart phones and communications towers to satellites.
A multi-faceted career
As a procurement professional, there are many different roles to choose from:
- develop procurement strategies for products and services
- advise clients and management on bids
- award and manage contracts
- use and sharpen your negotiation skills
- explore new ways to gain efficiencies
- provide clients and management with advice and guidance
- prepare and maintain procurement reports
- negotiate complex, multi-million-dollar contracts
- Learn about the competencies and skills you need to start your professional career in public procurement.
- Check out the video, Our People at Work. It showcases an air force acquisition specialist who procures major military equipment for the Canadian Armed Forces.
Training and development programs
Whether you are a post-secondary student or graduate, a private sector professional, a public servant in another profession, or a procurement officer in another level of government, the federal government has many programs to help you jumpstart or advance your career.
You will get training, mentoring and rotational placements to gain experience in a variety of professional positions. Once you successfully complete the program, you will graduate to a salary of over $75,000.
Your salary and benefits
When you pursue a career in public procurement, you will likely be classified in the Purchasing and Supply (PG) group:Footnote 1 The entry level annual salary for a PG is up to $65,000; management positions earn up to $110,000. For more details on salaries, visit the Purchasing and Supply annual rates of pay web page. There are also executive positions available, which offer even higher rates of pay.
In addition to earning an attractive salary, as a permanent employee, you will have:
- An attractive pension plan
- health care and dental benefits
- a minimum of three weeks (15 work days) of paid vacation and other paid leave
- possible flexible work arrangements such as teleworking and compressed workweeks
- and much more…
Apply for procurement jobs
- Visit jobs.gc.ca
- Search using terms such as procurement, purchasing, acquisition, supply and contracting to find well-paid interesting procurement positions available now!
Stay informed on GCcollab
- Sign up and sign in (using your student or government email address) on the GCcollab sign-in page
- Search for the Procurement, Real Property, and Materiel Management Functional Communities group
- Join the group to receive updates and be notified of job opportunities
Frequently asked questions
2. What are the “competencies” that I see in federal government job advertisements?
Competencies are the abilities, skills, knowledge and personal traits that contribute to performance excellence on the job.
In government job advertisements, you will come across three kinds of competencies:
- core competencies
- functional competencies
- technical competencies
a) Core competencies apply to all government jobs. They are:
- demonstrating integrity and respect
- showing initiative and being action-oriented
- thinking things through
- working effectively with others
b) Functional competencies are specific to a particular community or type of work. They describe the knowledge, skills and abilities that are essential to fulfill required job tasks, duties or responsibilities of an occupation or profession.
For procurement specialists, functional competencies are:
c) Technical competencies are must-have skills to do the work, based on the nature of a particular job. Public procurement job postings often list these technical competencies:
Technical competencies from other professions are often transferrable to procurement. Also, once you are hired, you may take training in technical competencies with the Canada School of Public Service.
3. I graduate in April. What should I be doing now to work for the Government of Canada after I graduate?
The Government of Canada runs a post-secondary recruitment campaign each fall. During this campaign, you can apply for the Intern Officer Development Program.
The hiring process takes about a year, so we recommend that you apply in your final school year. If you are successful, you’ll be able to start your procurement career right after you graduate!
Start keeping track of all your work, volunteer and educational experiences (such as assignments, presentations, exams and case studies) that apply to the technical competencies listed in Question 2. Doing so will save you time when applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.
Also keep an eye on these sites for job postings:
4. I have a lot of experience in procurement in the private sector. Can I apply for a procurement position with the Government of Canada?
Yes! The Government of Canada is seeking to fill a number of vacant positions in procurement. If you are a skilled procurement professional, we encourage you to apply to the federal public service. Search for positions at jobs.gc.ca.
5. Do I have to start at the minimum rate of the pay scale, or can I negotiate my salary?
A person being hired into the government is entitled to be paid at the rate of pay for the group and level of that person’s job classification. There are often a few pay increments or steps at each level.
In some circumstances, the Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment allows new employees to negotiate their rate of pay:
- when there is a shortage of skilled labour or difficulties filling a position
- where the minimum rate of pay is not competitive with rates offered by local or regional employers for similar duties
6. What development programs are offered to help me start my career in procurement?
As a person living in Canada or a Canadian citizen who has a post-secondary degree or diploma, you can start your career in procurement by applying to one of these following work programs:
- Public Services and Procurement Canada’s (PSPC’s) Intern Officer Development Program: a three-year program offered through PSPC in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency
- Materiel Acquisition and Support Officer Development Program: a two-year program offered through National Defence (apply for the Purchasing and Supply (PG) stream)
If you are a government employee already working in federal procurement, you can advance your career through the Certification Program for the Federal Government Procurement and Materiel Management Communities.
7. I’ve heard that it’s difficult to get a job in the government. Can you give me some tips?
- Sign up at jobs.gc.ca to receive notifications of job postings. Also join GCcollab.
- If a question on an application asks how you meet an essential criteria, don’t refer to your résumé or cover letter. Provide the details in your response to the question.
- Keep your examples clear and concise. Make sure your answer addresses the question.
- Ensure that your résumé and cover letter show how you meet all essential qualifications.
- Invent sample questions for each qualification listed on the job poster to help yourself prepare for an interview.
Visit the Public Service Commission of Canada website for more tips.
8. Do I have to be bilingual?
The requirement for bilingualism depends on the region you’ll be working in.
Canada has designated bilingual regions where both official languages are the languages of work, and unilingual regions where only one official language is the language of work. However, even in bilingual regions, there are unilingual positions, particularly at the entry level. They’re called “English essential” and “French essential” positions. Hiring managers are responsible for determining the language requirements of a position based on:
- an objective assessment of the position’s duties
- the responsibilities of the position (for example, supervisory duties, public engagement)
More details can be found on the Public Service Commission of Canada’s Bilingual Positions in the Public Service: FAQs web page.
The Government of Canada gives its employees the opportunity to pursue language training to advance to bilingual positions. Visit the Official languages in the public service web page for more information.
9. I will not be graduating this year. Can I work for the federal government while I’m still in school?
If you are a full-time student and not in a co-op program, you can apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP). FSWEP provides opportunities to work in many areas, including:
- contracting analysis
Apply online. We will contact you if we select you for a job opportunity.
School of Procurement, Western Region of Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)
PSPC’s Western Region offers a unique and practical learning opportunity at its School of Procurement.
University students in Western Canada who are in a co-operative education program, such as a business program with a focus on procurement or supply chain management, can:
- apply directly through their university
- put their academic knowledge into action over 6 to 8 months of work
- be assigned a mentor and a coach at PSPC’s School of Procurement
Participating universities are:
- University of Manitoba (Asper School of Business)
- University of Alberta (Alberta School of Business)
- MacEwan University (Bachelor of Commerce program)
- Mount Royal University (Bachelor of Business Administration program)
Contact your school’s co-operative education advisor for more information.
10. I am an international student. Can I apply for FSWEP jobs and permanent jobs when I graduate?
You are welcome to apply, but preference is given to Canadian citizens.
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