Outsourced Logistics Com Images Archive Region

Can money buy happiness?

Feb. 2, 2006
"Logistics is that place that has a rock on one side and a hard place on the other. To succeed you have to be able to think quick, act fast and get things

"Logistics is that place that has a rock on one side and a hard place on the other. To succeed you have to be able to think quick, act fast and get things moving when they have to be there." — fleet manager with a transportation services company, with 16-20 years of experience, living in the North Central region and earning $40,000

"Most of us are looked upon as cavemen because there is little recognition. A lot of people talk logistics and it is a popular buzzword. However, very few actually understand what it takes to move a product from point A to point B." — logistics manager with a wholesale distributor, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $55,000

"This is a career choice that is not suitable to all individuals. Anyone looking for a 9-to-5 job need not apply. However, if you enjoy hard work, long hours and being on call 24 hours a day every day, then this can be a very fulfilling field." — operations manager with a 3PL, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $90,000

"Logistics is the 'real stuff.' Successful execution is all about managing relationships. It is based more on experience, knowledge and hard work versus new information or technology. Collaborative relationships take time to mature but pay off in the long run, especially when times get tough. That's a true competitive advantage." — logistics manager with a chemical manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $123,000

"I believe very strongly that anyone who hasn't worked in logistics has no idea what it truly entails." — logistics manager with a food & beverage company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the Mountain region and earning $60,000

It's the classic question that all companies must ask themselves: Are your most valuable assets the goods that get loaded on a truck, or the people who manage the disposition of those goods? Is logistics a profit center or a line item expense? Does corporate management consider supply chain management a core competency, or just another black hole to pour money down? The answers to those questions go a long way toward defining the often schizophrenic nature of logistics professionals. In this year's annual Salary Survey, a record 1,625 Logistics Today readers shared with us not only the state of their personal finances, but their feelings as well on how well they and their peers are doing at advancing the state of the logistics industry. The growing popularity of this survey (participation was up by 38% over last year's record turnout) is borne out by the incredible outpouring of heartfelt (though anonymous) comments we received. We're including as many of your colleagues' remarks as we can in this article, and you can find many, many more by clicking here.

After we crunched all the numbers, we discovered that the "average logistics manager" is male, between 40-49 years old (and closer to 50 than 40), has worked in logistics for more than 26 years, lives in the North Central region of the country (i.e., the Midwest), has worked for his current employer for between 6-10 years, and earns $75,061. While the hard numbers are fascinating in and of themselves, they really come to life when accompanied by first-person commentary from logistics professionals who are anything but "average."

The nature of the job
"The pay rate for what I do is very low in this area. Healthcare professionals in general do not understand the concept of supply chain. Manufacturers have been very slow in upgrading the technology needed for automating supplies in healthcare (bar coding products in particular)." — supply chain manager with a healthcare/pharmaceutical company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $46,000

"I started out as the parts manager. Then I took on the logistics responsibilities at my company. Around a year after that the service manager position came open and I absorbed that responsibility. I also handle all of our technical literature (manuals and spare parts list) for all of our equipment." — parts/service/ shipping manager with an industrial products manufacturer, with 2-5 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $55,000

"Two years ago I was working in telecom logistics doing what I am doing today and making $65,000 a year. The fat get fatter." — warehouse manager with a 3PL, with 26+ years of experience, living in the Pacific region and earning $40,000

Logistics professionals are expected to not only be experts in how to move stuff but also in how to move specific kinds of stuff. Perhaps because they have to deal with so many different types of products, logistics managers in the retail industry continue to receive the highest average salary out of all the industry verticals — $90,296 (basically unchanged from the 2005 survey, having increased just a little over $350).

Four out of the next five highest salaries were industries that work directly with retailers: apparel, computer equipment and peripherals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods (logistics managers working at 3PLs, which of course also work closely with retailers, also did well). The highest increase from the previous year was for the consumer goods sector, which saw the average salary grow by 20%. Only two industries experienced declines: aerospace (-12%) and electronics/high-tech (-7%).

From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters
"I'm making much less than I did four years ago in the Midwest in operations management. I'm job searching because this industry doesn't reward education, experience or dedication." — logistics analyst with a transportation services company, with less than 3 years of experience, living in the South Atlantic region and earning $31,500

"West Virginia salaries are notorious for being less than the rest of the country. I know working in a larger company elsewhere in the U.S. I would make a lot more and have fewer total responsibilities. I'm not compensated the way I feel is adequate for the amount of time and work I put in." — purchasing manager with a building materials company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Atlantic region and earning $44,000

"I work in the northern suburbs of New York City, and due to over taxation by local government a onetime manufacturing powerhouse area has been reduced to almost nothing. This leaves very few opportunities available in the area, and the salary I receive is disgusting for my experience and background. I'm moving south to better opportunities." — transportation & warehouse manager with a consumer goods manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the Middle Atlantic region and earning $50,000

This year, there's been a westward migration in terms of highest salaries in the U.S. The Middle Atlantic region, which last year paid the most, has dropped into second place, with the Pacific region taking the honors for highest average salaries for its logistics professionals: $78,710. That's 6% more than the Pacific region was paying a year ago.

However, the most dramatic shift is probably in the North Central region (which encompasses the Midwest), where fully one-third of all logistics professionals live and work. There, the salaries grew by 10%, which when combined with more affordable housing, seems to indicate a concerted effort to keep as much logistics talent as possible from fleeing to the warmer climates. States in the South Central, which includes most of the Gulf Coast, had the highest overall increase, with salaries up by 14%.

Book smarts vs. street smarts
I do not have a degree. I went to the school of hard knocks. I have been doing logistics for 29+ years and do not feel fully compensated for what I am responsible for. A $400 million company should have a transportation department of more than 11/2 people."
— traffic manager with a consumer goods company, with some college and 20-25 years of experience, living in the North Central region and earning $62,000

"It appears to me that the majority of new logistics management hires are recent graduates with little or no record of success in building an organization. They work with industry models that everyone is promoting or relying on automation for solutions, and very few are creating new logistics solutions." — consultant with a 3PL, with a high school education and 26+ years of experience, living in the Pacific region and earning $120,000

"I am well pleased with my employer and the service we provide. I would like to become more than I am now. I look forward to any lectures and study that I can attend in the transportation field. I was not school trained for this profession, but grew into it as time passed." — traffic manager with a consumer goods company, with a graduate degree and 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Central region and earning $42,000

The percentage of logistics professionals with a college degree increased by 2% from last year, and as you would expect, the highest average salaries go to those with the most education. Those with graduate degrees are averaging $100,516, while those with just a high school education are averaging $55,138 (which, it needs to be pointed out, is far above the typical wage being paid to high school graduates).

However, while there's no disputing the correlation between a college degree and a higher salary, it's equally clear that logistics professionals with the most experience are doing the best as well when it comes to compensation. Of the respondents to the salary survey, 22% have 26 or more years of experience in the logistics profession, and 72% have been in logistics for more than a decade. So it's not surprising that companies want to retain that kind of experience, and will pay to keep their logistics experts happy (or at least, content to stay).

Not exactly equal pay for equal work
"Women are greatly underpaid in this industry. They are also overlooked more than men are with advancement opportunities." — female logistics manager with a 3PL, with 11-15 years of experience, living in the South Central region and earning $64,000

"Hopefully one day the salary differences within the transportation industry will more appropriately reflect the skill and performance of the individual and not the gender." — female VP/ general manager of a transportation services company, with 11-15 years of experience, living in the Middle Atlantic region and earning $55,900

"I believe women are still struggling in the transportation field for equal salary, and compensation benefits of their male counterparts." — female traffic manager with a consumer goods company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the Pacific region and earning $60,000

While the gender gap in salaries shrank by 2%, there's still an obvious disparity between how much men and women make in the logistics field. The average pay for females increased by 12%, as compared to 5% for males, but the difference in salaries is striking. Men average $78,834, while women average $56,710.

Certainly, a large part of the reason for the gap is that men, on the average, have more experience and education within the logistics field. However, while the salaries for women are on the rise, a disturbing development in the last year is that the percentage of women in the field actually dropped by 3% from 20% to 17%.

The perks of the job
"Base employment package also includes a company-provided vehicle." — VP/general manager of a 3PL, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $86,000

"They should have some kind of off-work participation to a gym so we can work on stress management." — VP/general manager of a transportation services company, with 6-10 years of experience, living in the South Atlantic region and earning $33,000

"From my perspective money is not a driving force. I have worked for large organizations making more than twice my current salary. At this stage in my life, being able to stay in northeast Ohio and contribute to a small company's rise and success is more important. If I were younger and starting out, salary would certainly be more of a consideration." — VP/general manager of a wholesale distributor, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central region and earning $85,000

This year, we asked a new question: What matters most to you about your job? Maybe as a reflection of the fact that 75% of the respondents are over 40, the number one answer was not salary, but rather job security. And you also told us about some other "perks" that we didn't include in the survey form, such as company cars, community life and the opportunity to participate in the launch and ongoing growth of a company.

We also heard, not surprisingly, from logistics professionals who think their benefits package is so lightweight as to be nonexistent. Some of the bluntest responses were to the question of if you receive an annual bonus. "What's a bonus?" and "Ha ha ha ha ha ha!" were typical answers.

Respect yourself
"Our logistics managers just had a discussion on why is it every other department, such as accounting, thinks they know logistics better than those of us who have made a career of logistics." — warehouse manager of a wholesale distributor, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central region and earning $72,000

"The saying goes that 'logistics is not a problem until it's a problem.' If we all do our job and do it well, you will never hear about it, but let someone complain or something not get to its destination on time, and then the world is ending. That is the single most annoying facet of the job." — property administration supervisor with a government contractor, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Atlantic and earning $55,000

"As our executive management continues to ignore the importance of our company's logistics efforts, I would like to suggest we outsource their positions — directors through CEO — and see how much we can save on those salaries and benefits. After all, reduced head count is a good thing, no matter how empty those heads are." — traffic manager of a retail company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the Mountain region and earning $67,000

"I have no confidence that senior management will ever place the correct level of importance on the logistics organization. Developing the work force is my biggest strength and where I receive the most job satisfaction." — logistics manager of a government contractor, with 26+ years of experience, living in the South Central region and earning $96,000

"I have finally found a company that embraces logistics and realizes the opportunities for savings and need for compliance. It is refreshing." — logistics manager of a retail company, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the Pacific region and earning $65,000

When we asked how satisfied you are with choosing logistics as a career path, 30% of you said "very satisfied" and another 50% said "satisfied," so 4 out of 5 logistics professionals like the nature of their jobs. In fact, only 4% said they were " unsatisfied" or "very unsatisfied."

However, as we noted in years past, the source of that satisfaction seems to be internal, since 35% of you feel that senior managers do not understand the role of logistics in your company's mission, and another 6% of you aren't sure if they do or not.

As we document here every issue, logistics is a difficult job, and it gets harder every week thanks to fuel costs, driver shortages, compliance requirements, technological hurdles, increasingly demanding customers — you know the drill. By and large, logistics professionals aren't looking for riches, glory and honor from their jobs — just an honest appreciation from their superiors that what they do is not only important, but absolutely essential to the health of their companies. It is encouraging that the number of respondents who feel executive management respects the importance of logistics rose from 58% last year to 59% this year. It's not much of a bump, but at least it's trending in the right direction.

Average salary by industry

Industry sector Salary Difference from 2005
Retail $90,296 --
Apparel $89,048 13%
Computer Equipment & Peripherals $88,051 8%
Pharmaceuticals/Healthcare $86,753 14%
3PLs $86,226 1%
Consumer Goods $81,317 20%
Utilities/Energy $80,213 n/a
Transportation Services $79,524 11%
Chemicals/Petroleum $73,879 6%
Electronics/High-Tech/Telecom $73,338 -7%
Wholesale Distribution $72,676 6%
Automotive $71,543 3%
Food & Beverage $70,983 4%
Government $68,312 n/a
Furniture $66,707 n/a
Paper/Printing/Publishing $65,627 4%
Industrial Products/Machinery/
Metals/Plastics
$64,296 13%
Aerospace $63,925 -12%
Construction/Building Materials $63,263 n/a

Average salary by age

Age (% of response) Salary Difference from 2005 (%)
21-29 (4%) $49,633 8%
30-39 (21%) $71,794 16%
40-49 (37%) $76,583 7%
50-59 (31%) $77,713 -1%
60+ (7%) $78,939 7%

Average salary by gender

Gender (% of response) Salary Difference from 2005
Male (83%) $78,834 5%
Female (17%) $56,710 12%

Average salary by education level

Highest level attained (% of response) Salary Difference
from 2005
High School (9%) $55,138 5%
Some College (35%) $62,843 11%
4-yr Bachelors Degree (32%) $79,631 9%
Some Graduate Study (8%) $84,483 -8%
Graduate Degree (15%) $100,516 4%

Average salary by seniority

Years with current company (% of response) Salary
0-2 (17%) $73,270
3-5 (20%) $77,769
6-10 (23%) $74,006
11-15 (13%) $73,469
16-20 (10%) $70,202
21-25 (8%) $81,186
26+ (9%) $76,002

Average salary by experience

Years in logistics (% of response) Salary
0-2 (4%) $52,383
3-5 (9%) $57,830
6-10 (15%) $64,784
11-15 (17%) $77,060
16-20 (17%) $78,681
21-25 (16%) $79,279
26+ (22%) $86,524

Average salary by company size

Company's annual revenues (% of response) Salary Difference
from 2005
Less than $100 million (39%) $66,565 10%
$100 million to $500 million (22%) $73,735 10%
$500 to $1 billion (10%) $74,618 -3%
$1 billion to $20 billion (23%) $87,679 5%
More than $20 billion (6%) $93,186 1%

Average salary by staff size

Number of people you personally manage (% of response) Salary Difference
from 2005
0-10 (64%) $70,885 10%
11-25 (17%) $77,407 4%
26-50 (9%) $81,761 9%
51-100 (5%) $82,746 -8%
more than 100 (5%) $100,227 -7%

How satisfied are you with logistics as a career path?

2006 2005
Very satisfied 30% 31%
Satisfied 50% 47%
Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied 16% 17%
Unsatisfied 3% 4%
Very unsatisfied 1% 1%

Do you feel that executive management understands the role of logistics in your company’s mission?

2006 2005
Yes 59% 58%
No 35% 37%
Don't Know 6% 5%

The method to our madness

Logistics Today's Salary Survey was conducted over the Internet via e-mailed invitations to subscribers. The survey took place in December 2005.

A total of 1,923 people responded to the survey, and of that number, 1,628 completed the entire survey. Respondents were not compensated, but were offered the chance to provide candid comments regarding their salaries, occupations and employers. All responses were anonymous.

Average salary by job title

Position Salary Difference from 2005
Corporate management (CEO, COO, President, CFO) $132,416 22%
VP/General Mgr $110,813 no change
Logistics/Transportation/Distribution Mgr $75,482 4%
Supply Chain Mgr $84,736 -11%
Warehouse/Shipping & Receiving Mgr $54,749 7%
Traffic Mgr $52,821 5%
Fleet Mgr $62,382 10%
Operations Mgr $66,968 -2%
Mfg/Production/Materials Mgr $64,656 -3%
Purchasing/Procurement Mgr $61,571 -2%
Global Trade/Customs/Import/Export $61,571 n/a
Customer Service $51,299 n/a
Analyst $59,339 8%
Consultant $87,604 6%

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