Figuring out how much you can earn in logistics can be tough because logistics and supply chain management is a field with many career paths. There are logistics engineers, transportation logistics managers, supply chain managers, logistics coordinators, and many other titles you may end up wearing at some point in your career.
Most of these careers pay relatively well compared to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' national salary averages, but some pay better than others. Logistics managers—the professionals who oversee supply chains and logistics service providers—tend to earn more than the national average. Still, their earning potential is middle-of-the-pack when stacked up against other jobs in supply chain management.
One of the best resources for those trying to figure out how much logistics managers earn is the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) Supply Chain Management and Career Survey Report. Every year, the organization surveys thousands of logistics and supply chain professionals to gather salary and career data. According to the group, the median salary for supply chain professionals is $80,000. You might not earn that much when you're just starting out, but that number says a lot about the earning potential in this field.
In this article, we look at how much does a logistics manager make by covering the following:
Logistics managers oversee supply chains. It's a broad role that can vary considerably from industry to industry, but in general, logistics managers are responsible for determining how organizations purchase and distribute finished products, component parts, and raw materials. A logistics manager may handle some or all of the following:
It's a big job. It can also be a stressful one. Supply chains never sleep, and when something goes wrong, the logistics manager is called upon to find solutions ASAP. Don't let that discourage you from researching this profession, though. The ASCM survey found that most supply chain professionals are very satisfied with their jobs.
Don't assume you need a logistics degree to get a logistics manager job. There actually aren't any degree paths explicitly designed for logistics professionals because most degree programs wrap logistics into supply chain management.
So, what should you study? You could earn a Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management or Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management. However, it's also possible to become a logistics manager with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Management or Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics. Most employers want job seekers who apply for open positions to have a bachelor's degree, but they're often not that picky when it comes to what kind of bachelor's degree.
You don't strictly need a master's degree to join the ranks of management in the supply chain field. In fact, 44 percent of logistics managers join the workforce after earning an undergraduate degree and never look back. However, you should be aware that about 24 percent of logistics managers do have master's degrees. Having a graduate degree may make it easier to find employment. Again, there are no logistics-specific degrees, but any of the following degrees will give you the knowledge and skills to succeed in this role:
Unfortunately, while getting a master's degree may make you more hireable, it probably won't do much to increase your salary. According to Salary.com, logistics managers with bachelor's degrees typically earn between $107,000 and $114,003. Logistics managers with master's degrees earn between 107,965 and $114,901.
Most logistics managers get their start in entry-level positions in the supply chain field before advancing into management positions. An aspiring logistics manager might work as a:
Logistics managers may also have experience working in roles like:
You may have read that supply chain management professionals are paid quite well, and that's true on average. Within supply chain management, however, there are several different roles, and compensation can vary quite a bit among them—even when you control for the highest level of education. The most lucrative logistics and supply chain management jobs (like operations manager and purchasing manager) pay above $100,000. Transportation logistics specialists are typically paid between $37,000 and $46,000 and may only earn $60,000 when promoted into management positions. Additionally, you need to know that a logistics manager's salary varies based on factors like location, industry, years of experience, and education.
This may be why it's hard to answer the question, "How much does a logistics manager make?" Glassdoor reports that logistics managers typically earn about $58,000. Indeed says it's more like $61,000. According to PayScale, that number could be closer to $65,000. Salary.com, meanwhile, reports that the average logistics manager salary is a lot higher at $112,000.
Remember, too, that 'good money' is relative. Cost of living matters, so how you feel about the above numbers will probably depend on where you live and whether you're supporting dependents.
Salary estimates for entry-level positions in the logistics field (i.e., those that require little to no work experience) are hard to find, but the median salary for entry-level logistics specialists seems to be around $37,000 to $40,000. That's not stellar, but it's worth considering that starting salaries in logistics and operations tend to be higher than in other industries. "Supply chain management undergrads average 10.5% to 50.6% higher earnings in starting their first industry job," a Universal Logistics Holding report found. Even better, salaries in the logistics industry also go up relatively quickly and there's a lot of room for advancement, whether you enter the field with an associate's degree or a master's degree.
You can work in most logistics careers without any professional certifications at all, but there are a lot of good reasons to pursue one or more logistics credentials. You might have an easier time finding employment when you're a certified professional logistician, and you may be able to negotiate higher salaries (more on this below). These are the most common and potentially the most valuable professional credentials for anyone considering a career in logistics:
According to the ASCM report linked above, earning professional certifications may be one of the best ways to increase your earning potential. A logistics management professional with one certification can earn 18 percent more than uncertified logisticians. Even better, every additional certification logistics managers earn tends to correlate with a further raise in salary.
As to which certifications will give you the biggest income boost, Association for Supply Chain Management certifications like the CLTD, Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential, or Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential may be your best bets. In the ASCM survey, respondents with those certifications reported earning 25 percent more than their uncertified colleagues.
Where you live can have a considerable impact on your salary when you become a logistics manager. Still, it's hard to figure out where logistics companies and other employers pay the most. That's because sites that report on earnings by profession don't typically agree when it comes to where logistics managers earn the most money.
For example, Indeed reports that logistics managers in these states have the highest salaries:
ZipRecruiter's top five list is very different:
If you're looking to earn as much as possible after becoming a logistics manager, it may make more sense to look at the average salary of supply chain and logistics professionals locally and in the cities where you're willing to relocate. Sometimes the easiest way to find out what employers are actually paying is to look at job advertisements. Just keep in mind that making more money in an expensive area like New York City, San Francisco, or Seattle may not translate to a higher standard of living.
Logistics manager isn't a terminal position; there's plenty of opportunity for advancement in this field. Working hard and advancing through the ranks is one way logistics professionals can grow their influence and their salaries. Logistics managers can move into positions like:
So, is this a good job for people who dream of dollar signs? That depends on whether the salaries above look good to you or just so-so. Keep in mind that the ASCM survey found that 65 percent of respondents received additional compensation on top of their salaries, like bonuses and retirement plan matching. According to Indeed surveys, 60 percent of logistics managers think their salaries are enough given the local cost of living. And logistician salaries are on the rise. The median salary for supply chain professionals has increased year over year by about 3.5 percent. Plus, job stability in this field is strong.
The takeaway is this: while the first paycheck you receive after becoming a logistics manager may not be cause for celebration, it probably won't be long before you're making big bucks.
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