Supply Chain Management Careers and Salary

Before a product appears on a store shelf or becomes available for online purchase, it must be created and distributed. The logistics of sourcing materials, building the product, and getting it into the hands of the intended end user may be a complex process. Organizations may look to qualified individuals who can effectively manage the logistics of the supply chain. Professionals are often hired to coordinate the planning and delivery of goods to keep costs down while customer satisfaction and safety ratings remain high. Without this role, organizations may not withstand an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Online M.S. in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University

The online M.S. in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University is designed to prepare students to oversee the life cycle of a product, make meaningful decisions through risk management, and create efficient supply chains.

  • Students are uniquely positioned to take on supply chain positions compared to earning a specialization 
  • Focus on risk management, financial management, and digital supply chain strategies 
  • Develop a solid foundation in Six Sigma in combination with supply chain expertise

info SPONSORED

Supply Chain Management Job Description

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) uses the occupational title of logistician to refer to workers who perform duties consistent with supply chain managers. Further, O*Net, a website sponsored by the Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration, also presents these titles as performing similar functions.

O*Net summary of Supply Chain Managers (11-9199.04)1

“Direct or coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, or financial forecasting services or activities to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service, or safety. Examine existing procedures or opportunities for streamlining activities to meet product distribution needs. Direct the movement, storage, or processing of inventory.”

O*Net summary of Logistics Managers (11-3071.03)2

“Plan, direct, or coordinate purchasing, warehousing, distribution, forecasting, customer service, or planning services. Manage logistics personnel and logistics systems and direct daily operations.”

Supply chain managers and logistics managers are responsible for more than implementing and managing efficient supply chain activities related to consumer products. They may also be responsible for the movement of military supplies and personnel. Their primary purpose is to plan and oversee the movement of deliverables by using software programs to help organize, plan and manage multiple products or responsibilities.

For our purposes, further references to logisticians include supply chain managers, unless otherwise noted.

According to the BLS, logisticians perform the following duties:

  • Manage a product’s life cycle from design to disposal
  • Direct the allocation of materials, supplies and products
  • Develop business relationships with suppliers and clients
  • Understand clients’ needs and how to meet them
  • Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
  • Propose strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods

Actual job descriptions may contain more or fewer duties than those listed here.

3 Supply Chain Manager Jobs

Supply chain managers may work under different job titles while performing similar duties. Sample titles include Global Consumer Sector Vice President, Global Supply Chain Director, Global Supply Chain Vice President, Material Requirements Planning Manager, Solution Design and Analysis Manager, Supply Chain Director, Supply Chain Manager and Supply Chain Vice President.1

They may also hold other titles that include the term “logistics.” Sample titles include Global Logistics Manager, Integrated Logistics Programs Director, Logistics Analytics Manager, Logistics Director, Logistics Operations Director, Logistics Operations Manager, Logistics Solution Manager, Logistics Team Leader, Logistics Vice President and Supply Chain Logistics Manager.2

While people with similar job titles may share similar duties, each position’s primary focus will vary. Here are three great supply chain manager jobs to explore, based on a salary above $70,000, that provide the opportunity to think analytically in an integral supply chain role.

1. Supply Chain Logistics Manager

Supply chain logistics managers often oversee one or more departments based on the organization’s structure. For example, they may oversee both the supply chain and logistics and projects departments. These jobs are typically looking for individuals to be responsible for coordinating the supply chain from materials handling, production packaging, inventory to transportation, with the expectation that customer and business standards are met.

2. Purchasing Manager

Purchasing managers typically oversee buyers, purchasing officers and related workers involved in purchasing materials, products and services. Job duties may include representing companies in negotiating contracts with suppliers, creating and implementing purchasing and contract management plans and creating strategies to reduce costs.

3. Logistics Analytics Manager

Logistics analytics managers often review internal and external data to identify inefficiencies and suggest improved processes while maintaining or improving productivity, profitability and safety.

There may be a crossover of responsibilities and required skill sets with different job titles. Each organization defines which duties are most important based on their needs and industry. Most will be listed in the job posting, but some may be added as you grow in your position.

BLS reports there were roughly 174,900 logisticians in 2018. The largest employers of logisticians were in the following areas:

Employment SectorPercentage of Jobs in 2018
Manufacturing
24%
Federal government
18%
Professional, scientific and technical services
16%
Management of companies and enterprises
10%
Wholesale trade
9%

Supply Chain Management Job Outlook

The BLS job outlook for logisticians is good. Individuals who have logistical software experience or who have performed logistical work for the military might have the edge over other candidates.

Employment is projected to grow by 5 percent through 2028, mainly due to the need to transport goods around the world. As with other professions, job growth is expected as a portion of the workforce is nearing retirement age. It is also impacted by those who choose to leave the occupation for other reasons.

Occupational TitleSOC CodeEmployment, 2018Projected Employment, 2028Percent Change, 2018-28Numeric Change, 2018-28
Logisticians
13-1081
174,900
183,300
5
8,400

What is the Median Salary for Supply Chain Management Jobs? 

The median annual salary for logisticians was $74,750 in May 2019, according to BLS data, with the lowest 10% earning $44,020 and the highest 10% making at least $120,400. While most logisticians work full time, it’s not unusual for logisticians to work overtime to ensure projects meet deadlines.

Salaries further vary by industry. According to the BLS, the highest-paid logisticians work in these industries:3

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
60
0.23
$58.83
$122,370
130
Less than .005% of industry employment
$56.88
$118,310
160
1.33
$49.14
$102,210
80
0.01
$46.71
$97,160
580
0.41
$46.27
$96,250

However, the following industries have the highest concentration of employment for this occupation:

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
5,180
2.20
$31.64
$65,810
9,720
1.87
$42.69
$88,800
29,250
1.46
$42.13
$87,640
160
1.33
$49.14
$102,210
13,840
0.93
$35.74
$74,340

While the following are the top-paying industries for this occupation, they also have a lower concentration of employment:

IndustryEmploymentPercent of industry employmentHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
60
0.23
$58.83
$122,370
130
Less than .005 percent
$56.88
$118,310
160
1.33
$49.14
$102,210
80
0.01
$46.71
$97,160
580
0.41
$46.27
$96,250

5 Best-Paying Cities for Supply Chain Managers

As of May 2019, the BLS found the five cities where supply chain managers earned the most were:

Metropolitan areaEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
70
0.64
0.51
$59.69
$124,160
1,230
25.87
20.87
$51.20
$106,490
230
1.33
1.07
$48.41
$100,690
4,440
1.45
1.17
$47.15
$98,060
2,150
1.88
1.52
$46.72
$97,170

The highest average annual income for this occupation was found in the Lake Charles, LA, metropolitan area at $124,160. California-Lexington Park, MD, followed with an average annual income of $106,490. The remaining regions were closest in average yearly wage. Anchorage, AK, is third at $100,690, while Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland, TX, and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, rounding out the top five at $98,060 and $97,170, respectively.

Top States for Supply Chain Management Careers

According to BLS data, the states with the highest annual average salary don’t necessarily have the highest concentration of jobs.3 For example, the top-paying states for this occupation include:

StateEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
1,150
1.59
1.28
$46.09
$95,870
360
1.15
0.93
$45.17
$93,950
610
1.35
1.09
$44.59
$92,750
5,530
2.05
1.65
$44.28
$92,090
6,450
1.94
1.57
$42.94
$89,300

However, the states with the highest employment level for this occupation are: 

StateEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
23,020
1.32
1.07
$40.72
$84,690
15,710
1.26
1.02
$40.56
$84,370
9,190
1.53
1.23
$32.35
$67,290
8,310
2.03
1.64
$41.66
$86,660
8,280
1.91
1.54
$38.53
$80,130

Some nonmetropolitan areas may have low employment or low concentration of jobs for the occupation but pay at or above the average annual wage. Salary may also vary based on your type of business degree as well as level and depth of education, such as having a bachelor’s degree versus a master’s degree. Related master’s degrees for this field may include a Master of Business Administration—a degree with a general business focus—or a Master of Supply Chain Management, which is more tailored to the field. Consider this data and the average cost-of-living when deciding if this career and a particular geographic location are a good fit.

Is a Supply Chain Manager Career Path Right for You?

If you think you might enjoy leading large projects in a fast-paced environment, working within set procedures, and impacting the global economy, a career as a supply chain manager might be for you.

Online M.S. in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University

The online M.S. in Supply Chain Management from Syracuse University is designed to prepare students to oversee the life cycle of a product, make meaningful decisions through risk management, and create efficient supply chains.

  • Students are uniquely positioned to take on supply chain positions compared to earning a specialization 
  • Focus on risk management, financial management, and digital supply chain strategies 
  • Develop a solid foundation in Six Sigma in combination with supply chain expertise

info SPONSORED

1 O*Net Online. “Summary Report for: Supply Chain Managers,” August 2020. Accessed September 2020

2 O*Net Online. “Summary Report for: Logistics Managers,” August 2020. Accessed September 2020.

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Employment Statistics: Logisticians,” July 2020. Accessed September 2020.

Last Updated August 2020