Supply Chain Manager Careers + Salary

A supply chain manager is an integral cog in the machine that is a business. These managers are involved in every aspect of a business, from developing a product to making sure it reaches the customer properly. The field has been made popular as a strategic discipline thanks to Wal-Mart, which stated that it was integral to their success.

Supply Chain Management Job Requirements

One of the things that set supply chain managers apart from the other kinds of managers is that they are almost exclusively educated at the graduate degree level. Even at entry level, employers look for a master’s in supply chain management, or an MBA (Master in Business Administration) with a supply chain management concentration. Additionally, they often look for those who hold certificates, including the Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and the Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) certification, held by 25% and 10% of all supply chain managers, respectively. With requirements like that, it is perhaps no surprise that pay is also significant.

Job Outlook

There is a very healthy outlook for supply chain managers. However, the prerequisites to getting a job in this field are incredibly stringent, as described below. While this can mean that it is easy to get a job if you do meet the requirements, the reality is that most people who get to work in this field hold a job for life. As such, competition for each position is incredibly fierce.

Career Options

Supply chain managers can work in a range of different fields. Salary expectations and job outlooks vary depending on these fields as well. The table below highlights some of the key differences.

JobEducation RequirementDescriptionAverage Pay
Logistics AnalystMaster’sYou will work across various logistics functions, such as distribution and operations. You will ensure that all logistics are operating at maximum function. Problem solving is an integral part of your role.$70,000 to $100,000
VP of Supply Chain ManagementMBAIn this role, you will be pretty much at the top of the chain. You report to one person only: the company’s COO or CEO. Your role transcends all elements of supply chain, including purchasing, facilities, and logistics. You will also ensure that executive strategies are translated into functions understandable by those within the supply chain.$125,000
Fleet ManagerBachelor’sYou will be responsible for the fleet itself, ensuring it is in good condition and fit for purpose, and also for employees. Achieving maximum efficiency is of the greatest importance, as well as being able to grow and contract together with the rest of the organization.$45,000 to $85,000
Warehouse Operations ManagerBachelor’sThis role is most commonly found in retail, transportation and distribution. You will be responsible for maintaining the inventory, managing personnel, and ensuring safe compliance. You must have analytical, leadership, and communication skills. As a result, more and more employers are looking for those with a master’s degree$37,000 to $80,000

The vast majority of people involved in supply chain management start at an entry level position. They are then often sponsored by their employer to seek greater qualifications, enabling them to achieve more rapid growth. The percentage of supply chain management professionals and the industries they work in are:

  • 25% work in manufacturing
  • 23% work in federal government, although not the postal service
  • 17% work in professional, scientific, and technical services
  • 11% work in transportation equipment manufacturing
  • 8% work in aerospace product and parts manufacturing

The number of jobs that exist in this industry is almost endless. They include:

  • Consultant
  • Analyst
  • International logistics manager
  • Customer service manager
  • Logistics engineer
  • Inventory control manager
  • Logistics services salesperson
  • Logistics manager
  • Materials manager
  • Logistics software manager
  • Purchasing manager
  • Production manager
  • System support manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Vendor managed inventory coordinator
  • Transportation manager
  • Warehouse operations manager

What all of the above demonstrates is that the field of supply chain management is incredibly diverse and varied, with many opportunities for work, and many different earnings. Unfortunately, this type of vagueness is usually not what you want to hear when you are trying to decide whether or not an investment in a graduate degree in this field will be worth your while. In the following, we hope to address that in greater detail.

Supply Chain Management Job Prospects

The world is becoming an increasingly global place, and everything is now interconnected. This is why logistics and supply chain management are such interesting fields of work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there will be a growth of just 2% in logistics management, however. This is mainly due to the fact that there is now a greater understanding of the entire field of supply chain management, with fewer businesses looking for people who specialize solely in the field of logistics.

Entry Level Jobs

As previously stated, most employers now look for master’s degree holders. That is not to say, however, that there is no work out there for bachelor’s degree holders. As stated as well, it is often by obtaining one of these entry level positions that you can get sponsorship to advance your degree. Some of the most common entry level positions for bachelor’s degree holders in supply chain management include:

  • Customer service management
  • Distribution professional
  • Operations manager
  • Operations research analyst
  • Process associate

Advanced Positions

Once you hold a master’s/MBA degree, the field of supply chain management becomes really interesting and the job roles available to you become more readily available, as well as attract higher salaries. Some of the jobs available to you at this point include:

  • Logistical manager
  • International logistics manager
  • Transportation director
  • Director of operations
  • Global logistics manager
  • Project manager
  • Industry analyst
  • Vice president of supply chain management
  • President of supply chain management

Geographical Location

Clearly, obtaining a higher education also enables you to get better, and higher paying jobs. However, your geographical location is also of extreme importance. The best places to work in supply chain management are as follows:

  • Illinois, currently employing 43,790 supply chain managers
  • California, currently employing 38,170 supply chain managers
  • New Jersey, currently employing 19,620 supply chain managers
  • New York, currently employing 17,940 supply chain managers
  • District of Columbia, currently employing 15,020 supply chain managers
  • Virginia, currently employing 14,230 supply chain managers
  • Minnesota, currently employing 14,050 supply chain managers

Other states, meanwhile, are best avoided. The worst states to work in supply chain management, as such, are as follows:

  • Guam, employing just 30 supply chain managers
  • The Virgin Islands, currently employing 60 supply chain managers
  • South Dakota, employing 220 supply chain managers
  • Vermont, employing 290 supply chain managers
  • North Dakota, employing 520 supply chain managers
  • Delaware, employing 640 supply chain managers
  • Montana, employing 770 supply chain managers

Fastest job growth has been experienced in the following states:

  • South Carolina, where job growth reached 45.83%
  • Delaware, where job growth reached 39.13%
  • Connecticut, where job growth reached 32.71%
  • Virginia, where growth reached 30.55%
  • District of Columbia, where job growth attained 27.94%
  • Montana, where growth attained 18.46%
  • Texas, where job growth reached 12.86%

Other states are not as positive with regards to job growth, however:

  • New Mexico, where there has been a decline of 38.61%
  • The Virgin Islands, where there has been a decline of 33.33%
  • Arkansas, where there has been a decline of 32.82%
  • Idaho, where there has been a decline of 29.29%
  • Oregon, where there has been a decline of 28.78%
  • Rhode Island, where there has been a decline of 28.10%
  • Georgia, where there has been a decline of 26.97%

Clearly, it is all but impossible to pinpoint the national averages when it comes to supply chain managers’ careers, job outlook and salary. This is unfortunate for those considering an education in this field. By and large, it means that if you are considering a degree in supply chain management, you need to consider where you will be working and in what role, before determining whether or not your education will be a good investment.

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