Explore Supply Chain Management and Logistics Careers

Welcome to SupplyChainGuide.org’s career and jobs section! If you’re an aspiring or current supply chain student researching professional opportunities in the industry, this guide is for you. We discuss the landscape of career opportunities in supply chain and logistics, including common job titles, career outlook, and salary expectations. You’ll also find our individual supply chain career guides, where we break down the details of each position. You’ll learn more about educational and professional requirements, core responsibilities, day-to-day life on the job, and the future of each position. Read on to get started!

The Current State of the Supply Chain Workforce

Over the past two years, the supply chain industry has faced new challenges as COVID-19 spread globally. According to the ASCM’s 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report, however, 95% of the workforce did not lose their jobs or face company layoffs due to the pandemic. Companies doubled down on hiring talent with the analytical skills and leadership needed to uncover vulnerabilities, analyze potential solutions, and manage risk.

So, what does the supply chain workforce look like overall? Some of the trends we see include:

  • Ethnicity and Gender: The industry is over 70% white and 60% male, highlighting a need for greater ethnic and gender diversity. Black and Latino supply chain professionals are underrepresented compared to national population data.
  • Age: 56% of the industry is under the age of 40. Young talent with college degrees have little trouble finding employment quickly after graduation.
  • Company Size: 30% of positions are with companies smaller than 1,000 employees. Nearly 50% are within companies of 10,000 or more employees. Supply chain professionals have opportunities at businesses big and small, giving them the flexibility to find their preferred work environment.
  • Industries: The workforce spreads across a wide variety of industries. Over 30% of the workforce is within the manufacturing industry. Nearly 15% is in consumer goods and retail, while chemical, automotive, and government positions are each less than 5% of the national workforce.
  • Salaries: The supply chain industry’s average starting salary is $60,000. And, unlike most industries, younger hires have closed the gender pay gap. Women below the age of 40 are out-earning their male colleagues.

The data paints a picture of a robust supply chain industry with many career opportunities despite disruptions caused by the pandemic. Moving forward, diversity should be emphasized, especially in leadership positions. But the closing gender pay gap is encouraging.

Educational Requirements for Supply Chain and Logistics Careers

The supply chain field has positions for employees of every educational background, from warehouse staff with high school diplomas to doctorate-educated academics. Despite the diverse educational backgrounds of the workforce, it’s important to note that your level of education is strongly correlated with earnings and career options. Consider your education the foundation of a career in supply chain management.

Undergraduate Degree Requirements

The vast majority of supply chain professionals – 84% – have at least their bachelor’s degree, so consider it a requirement. Associate degrees in supply chain and logistics are widely available, but we do not recommend ending your education there. Instead, you might opt to save money by completing an associate’s degree and then transferring the credits into a bachelor’s program. And when it comes to choosing a degree, you have options. Most young supply chain professionals major in supply chain management, logistics, or a related field, but plenty are business majors (business administration, finance, etc.).

Graduate Degree Requirements

Master’s degrees are not required, but they have become increasingly popular. Many bachelor-educated supply chain professionals want to pursue management positions, and a graduate degree makes career progression much easier. For example, buyers may aspire to become procurement managers, schedulers to become purchasing managers, and plant managers to become supply chain managers. Your professional experience will play a significant role in earning these promotions, but a graduate degree can put you over the top. And if you aspire higher – to supply chain director, director of operations, or even a CEO position – then a graduate degree is necessary.

Think a master’s degree is right for you? The most popular options are MS/MA in Supply Chain Management, MBA in Supply Chain Management, and MBA in Operations Management degree programs. But your options don’t end there because many specialized options are available (e.g., MS in Supply Chain Analytics). If you see management in your future, consider pursuing a supply chain graduate degree program.

Ph.D. and DBA programs in supply chain management exist but are far less common. They’re great options for careers in academia (professor, academic researcher, etc.) or top positions in industry (VP, CEO, etc.). Speak with colleagues, employers, and mentors for feedback before considering a doctorate in supply chain management because they’re rarely required for positions outside of academia.

Career Outlook in Supply Chain Management and Logistics

Young people planning their careers have more variables to consider than previous generations. Advances in technology, including automation and artificial intelligence, are creating new opportunities while simultaneously eliminating certain jobs. In addition, the global pandemic disrupted nearly every industry and economy on the planet.

So, what is the job outlook for supply chain and logistics careers? It’s excellent! That might be surprising news, but it makes sense. The global pandemic caused mass disruption of supply chains in nearly all industries, including pharmaceutical and health care, consumer goods, and the auto industry. These disruptions exposed existing vulnerabilities that went unnoticed, but the industry is responding by doubling down on supply chain talent. Supply chain executives say the future includes retraining their workforces, investing in technology that will improve processes, and hiring educated professionals with leadership abilities, analytical skills, and an eye for strategic improvements.

Hiring data backs up these claims. In 2021, ASCM discovered that 41% of recent college graduates found a job in under one month, and 27% found a job within three months. The hot hiring market extends beyond recent graduates, as 60% of professionals who pursued new positions found one within three months. And the demand for supply chain talent doesn’t expect to cool down quickly, as the BLS projects the job growth of logisticians to be 30% between 2020 and 2030. To put that in perspective, the national average is only 8%.

Learn About Jobs in Supply Chain Management

Browse openings, and you’ll find hundreds of job titles for supply chain professionals. Despite the variety, each falls within the six categories of the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model: Plan, Source, Make, Deliver, and Return. Below, find our supply chain job guides for some of the most common and sought-after roles. Browse positions of interest to learn more about the educational and professional requirements, daily responsibilities, career outlook, and more.

Demand Planner
Distribution Manager
Inventory Control Manager
Production Manager
Purchasing Agent/Manager (Procurement Manager)
Supply Chain Analyst
Supply Chain Associate
Supply Chain Manager
Supply Planner

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