Logistics Industry Review & Update: Coordinate your Career
Every company, small or big, irrespective of location, needs to plan and execute distribution of raw material and resources as well as supply of finished products to markets where these products are most in demand. Globalisation has made the process of logistics and supply chain management more complicated – and rewarding – than ever before.
Even in the face of the slowdown, jobs in logistics have only expanded. For instance, in the ten years from 2010 to 2020, logistics jobs in the US are set to multiply by 25%. According to the US Department of Labor, this represents an additional 27,800 jobs created. And it’s not just the number of jobs; it’s also the rewards of those jobs. If you work in this field, you’d have seen your salary grow from an average of $53K in 2002 to $74K in 2012. At the lower end, you could expect to earn about $43.5K in 2010 but a good $108K if you were among the best-paid logistics professionals. In 2013, 13% of all logistics professionals draw an average salary between $100K and $120K, according to the Peerless Research Group (PRG).
Careers in logistics cover a wide spectrum, from truck drivers or forklift operators to senior-level logistics and supply chain executives. Since logistics operations hold center-stage in the armed forces, a sizable percentage of people enter this field after having served in the military.
Logistics and supply chain professionals in the age range of 45 to 63 years old have reason to cheer. They draw the highest salaries, rivaled only by younger managers who have advanced education such as an MBA or even online certification in the field. Current trends show that mid- and senior-level professionals need to be especially good at decision analysis, IT tools, working with cross-functional and cross-organizational teams, and handling finance.
In a survey, 60% of logistics professionals said they received an average 6% salary hike in 2012. On the whole, logistics managers in 2013 earned an average salary of $94K, while the median was $87K. Those who have six to ten years of experience in their current role command the best pay packages, drawing just a little over $120K on average. This is the ‘sweet spot’ for salaries in this sector, since those with more than 10 years in their job draw an average pay of $110K only.
Profiles that matter
Logistics today covers everything from procurement to payroll management, as well as roles in Information Technology (IT), fleet operations, materials handling, inventory control and planning, import/ export operations, warehousing, purchasing, traffic and transportation, supply chain management, and finally, actual distribution and logistics. A sound understanding of procurement processes is another factor that employers look for, for which more and more mid-level working professionals are returning to school or turning to online education.
Increasingly, companies are looking to bring in specialists in ‘change management’, who can measure internal and external data and manage processes accordingly. 42% of logistics professionals reveal the need for professional certification to improve their understanding of logistics strategy, even as 20% possess graduate degrees in logistics or supply chain management.
If you consider yourself an expert at managing supply chain functions such as transportation, warehousing, inventory management, and production planning, and can build strong relationships with suppliers and customers across the world, then you have several employers looking for you. Cross-function, cross-company coordination is essential for senior professionals in the field.
For options, drill deeper
There is healthy global demand for professionals with experience in handling information flow, materials, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing and security. Especially when it comes to import-export, demonstrating your efficiency in achieving the best results while minimizing the use of resources, is key.
For jobseekers, your target list should include developing countries and nations with bustling ports and growing international trade relations, where the following profiles are highly sought after:
- Procurement logistics
- Production logistics
- Distribution logistics
- After-sales logistics
- Disposal logistics
- Reverse logistics
- Green logistics
- Global logistics
- Domestics logistics
- Concierge Service
- RAM logistics
Places to be at
Starting December 2012, Australia has seen a solid increase in hiring, especially for Commercial, Human Resources, Transport and Supply Chain Director roles. Australia is looking at growth in developing industries such as online retail trade, enhanced/ specialized education, learning and development, research and Information Technology (IT). The online industry is creating record levels of demand for suitable experienced talent in middle and senior management for Supply Chain, Warehouse, IT, Human Resources, Business Development and Operations roles. On a related note, Courier and Express Parcel/ Courier sectors are experiencing significant growth and are likely to scale up hiring in 2014.
Inventory managers, distribution center managers and warehouse managers are some of the roles being sought. Typically, Australian companies prefer to recruit new professionals on a temporary basis, with the option of going permanent once you prove your mettle.
Major specialist supply chain consulting businesses in Australia are confident of growth in the near term. Fiscal stimulus from decisions such as the Reserve Bank announcement of a decrease in interest rates to a record low, will propel the industry even further in 2014.
Right now, strategic category managers are more in demand since long-term, sustainable procurement plans are the focus, as opposed to tactical, tender-heavy processes.
Leading and managing the complexities of developing supply chains is the biggest challenge confronting Asia at the moment.
The World Bank ranked Singapore the world’s No. 1 Logistics Hub among 155 countries in the 2012 Logistics Performance Index. The tiny country occupies a strategic position in Southeast Asia and is at the heart of major shipping lanes. 200 shipping lines connect Singapore to 600 ports in 123 countries. 20 of the top 25 international logistics companies conduct operations in Singapore, often using it as their regional or global headquarters. Among Asia’s largest cargo airports, Changi sees 6500 weekly flights that connect it to 250 cities in 60 countries. Each week, the airport acts as a transit point for almost 2 million tons of cargo. Singapore is located within a 7-hour flight radius of half the world’s population and the country’s sea and air ports are fed through a well-planned domestic road network and other infrastructure.
Add to this, Singapore is consistently ranked among the top destinations for international jobseekers. Lower tax rates, transparency in work, a growing economy and flexible visa options make it a very attractive choice.
China, meanwhile, is experiencing steady manufacturing growth, and media reports indicate the country is on track to meet the next annual economic growth rates of over 7%. There is an increasing demand for skilled logisticians and qualified procurement, finance, commercial management and business development executives. The country’s robust, powerful market economy and its growing role in international business operations are pushing its logistics industry to achieve seamless operations.
In the Indian sub-continent, there is a big gap between available opportunities and supply of talent with required skill sets and qualifications. There is a tendency among candidates to transition between roles/ companies, which has led to further escalation in demand for skilled Supply Chain talent.
All this at a time when demand from mature Asia markets such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Japan and Taiwan continues unabated, even as Malaysia slowly emerges as a lower-cost alternative to Singapore.
Middle East & Africa
Huge demand here for experienced professionals, causing an upward pressure on salaries across some key positions. A few weeks ago, Dubai won the bid to host World Expo 2020, sparking off a new round of announcements of multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects across the Middle East. Right now, a broad range of sectors such as aviation, ports, supply chain, contract logistics, 4PL, FMCG and oil & gas are looking to hire. Iraq and Saudi Arabia are experiencing some unprecedented growth. Attracting and retaining new talent is the biggest challenge for the Supply Chain and Logistics sector, and is also a key focus for the region’s air cargo industry.
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