New Survey Shows How the Supply Chain Field is Thriving in a Challenging Time

September 14, 2021

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic have supply chain professionals working harder than ever – but compensation is rising significantly to match.

As a recruitment firm specialized entirely within supply chain management, we at Argentus write about a variety of topics at the intersection of talent and supply chain – everything from career advice, to hiring advice, to supply chain industry news. But perhaps no topic draws more interest from Argentus’ readers than salary intel, which makes sense: people in the field want to see how their current situation stacks up. Especially in a hot job market like this one. How much are people making? How much additional compensation or vacation are they getting? What’s their level of job satisfaction?

This intel is useful to hiring managers and leaders as well. In a candidate’s market where organizations are competing for supply chain talent, like the one we’re in now, you want to assess your risk of losing out on candidates. (For example, if you’re a Canadian supply chain organization offering only 2 weeks vacation to candidates with 5 years of vacation, we have bad news for you.)

Salary surveys are always hot ticket items. And in the middle of the COVID-19 era, they’re even more relevant than ever. With the tremendous difficulties of the past eighteen months, how are supply chain professionals faring? How many have lost their jobs? Have salaries gone up, or down? After a year and half of increased stress and challenges, how many would recommend the field to others?

These questions are relevant for everyone in the industry. And a new survey is out that aims to answer them – The 2021 Canadian Supply Chain Salary Report. The survey was developed by the international non-profit Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) in concert with Supply Chain Canada. It’s the biggest salary survey of the year, and has some interesting and heartening data about where the field is at in 2021.

Here are some of the biggest top-line results from the survey, with our takeaways:

The overall salary picture is strong.

  • Salaries for supply chain professionals in Canada are up 13%, perhaps owing to the increased demand for supply chain skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. 45% of salaries went up in the last year. Overall median salary was $83,000, and median overall total cash compensation was $89,850.
  • Compensation for new graduates remains competitive. The median starting salary for supply chain professionals this year was $55,000.

Most employees have retained their jobs during the pandemic, and most are satisfied with their careers. But workloads are higher than ever.

  • 93% of professionals retained their job through the COVID-19 pandemic, and 74% reported no economic impact as a result of the pandemic. Only 3% reported layoffs, and only 10% reported a salary reduction.
  • Unsurprisingly, workload for supply chain professionals has increased. COVID-19 continues to change the game for what we’re asking of our supply chain professionals. Early on in the pandemic, Supply Chain Canada reported that 72% of supply chains experienced some form of disruption as a result of the pandemic. Since then, with the ongoing shipping container shortage, the amount of disruption has only grown. As a result, a significant number (48%) of supply chain professionals reported an increased workload over the previous year. Only 6% saw their workload decrease, and 26% reported no change in their workload.
  • Job satisfaction remains strong, despite the challenges. 69% of supply chain professionals gave their careers a rating of 8 or higher on a scale of 1-10. Overall, 88% of those surveyed had a positive impression of their careers. 91% of respondents agreed that they were at least somewhat likely to recommend the supply chain field, and over 70% said they were very likely to recommend the career.

Work / life balance is robust, and the gender pay gap is closing.

  • Despite the increased workload, candidates are reporting better work/life balance, showing companies are recognizing the sacrifices their employees are making, and adjusting accordingly. 78% of respondents received 3 or more weeks of paid vacation, and 36% of respondents received 4 or more weeks. This tracks closely with our recent post about paid vacation for supply chain professionals.
  • The gender pay gap –which we highlighted last year – is still a factor, but it continues to close. By gender, men (representing 51% of respondents) earn a median salary of $86,250, whereas women (representing 44% of respondents) earn $82,000. As the survey notes, the gender salary gap in supply chain is much lower than the wider workforce (where women typically earn an average of only 69% of their male counterparts’ salaries). In our opinion, gender parity is a major factor behind supply chain’s increased prominence in the workforce and at companies. So it’s encouraging to see the gender pay gap getting closer to being a thing of the past.

The past year and a half has been hard for many — and supply chain professionals are no exception. Companies are asking more than ever from their supply chains in the face of tremendous disruption. Many are facing mental and physical health challenges are a result, with the prospect of a “Great Resignation” on the horizon, the picture isn’t entirely rosy. But it’s great to see that in terms of salary, gender parity, and work/life balance, the field is pushing ahead.

Head to Supply Chain Canada‘s website to read the overall survey. And then let us know what you think! What’s your level of satisfaction? Does your experience match with these statistics? Let us know in the comments!


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