Insights

Supply Chain Salaries Update: The Gender Pay Gap is Narrowing

August 24, 2020

A new exhaustive survey digs into the salary picture for Supply Chain professionals – with interesting findings about crucial skills, salary growth, and the gender pay gap in the field.

On the Argentus Blog, we’re always looking to shine the light on various aspects of the talent picture within the Supply Chain Management field – whether it’s hiring trends, intelligence about important skills, or the industry’s response to emerging issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But one of the hottest perennial topics – for candidates looking to develop their careers, as well as hiring managers developing their talent strategy – is always salary:

What does the compensation picture look like for Supply Chain professionals? With the increased prominence of Supply Chain, Logistics and Procurement within organizations, is compensation increasing? What’s the monetary value of advanced certifications and degrees?

Our readers are always – understandably – interested in the salary piece of the talent pie. A Supply Chain career is multifaceted, and candidate motivations vary when it comes to career development – but make no mistake, money talks.

So here’s the latest: a new U.S. Survey revealed the salary picture for Supply Chain professionals, with some really interesting results. The survey was conducted by the Association for Supply Chain Management, the leading industry association in the U.S. (and their equivalent of Supply Chain Canada). Given the close economic links between the U.S. and Canada, we think the results are instructive for Canadian hiring managers and SCM professionals as well.

The survey was comprehensive, digging into compensation, job satisfaction, education, key skills, as well as the gender pay gap – and whether it’s growing or narrowing as the field evolves.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Salaries:

  • Compensation is strong overall. On average, Supply Chain professionals earn $78,750, which ASCM points out is 24% higher than the national median salary. This tracks with what we’ve often spoken about: professionals in the field are in high demand, and this demand is only increasing. The median compensation in the field was $82,007.
  • Bonuses are exceedingly common. According to the survey, 91% of respondents received a bonus or other additional cash compensation, in amounts higher than the national average. Profit sharing was the second most common additional compensation, with 15% of respondents receiving some amount of profit sharing.
  • Salaries are going up, in some cases quite a bit. 82% of the respondents reported a salary increase over the previous year. 18% of them had increases over 10%, which represents very strong salary growth. 52% of candidates had increases between 2% and 4% over the previous year. Only 8% over respondents had increases less than 2%, and only 2% of candidates reported a salary decrease.
  • Compensation is also high for new entrants to the field. According to the survey, individuals entering the Supply Chain field can expect to make $60,000 within their first two years, which is higher than the national median starting salary of $51,347. Anecdotally, this is a bit lower in Canada, except for particular functions with very strong starting compensation like Demand Planning.

Satisfaction:

  • Job satisfaction was also high. According to the survey, 88% of Supply Chain Professionals had a positive outlook on their career.
  • An overwhelming majority would recommend a Supply Chain career to someone else. ASCM asked respondents to rate their likelihood of recommending a Supply Chain career to someone else on a scale of 1-10. 85% of people answered between a 7-10, indicating that they were likely to recommend a career in the Supply Chain field.

Top Skills:

  • Technical skills are as crucial as ever. The top 5 technical skills were, in order: Inventory Management, Project Management, Best Practice Knowledge, Computer Skills, and Risk Management.
  • Soft skills on the rise. The top 5 leadership skills, or soft skills, were, in order: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Big Picture Future Planning, and Problem Solving.
  • Interestingly, ASCM broke down Supply Chain careers into 6 core functions. They then assessed the median salaries for each function. The results were fairly even, but here are the breakdowns:
    • Plan,” which includes Demand Planners, Inventory Analysts, Master Planners, Master Schedulers, Materials Managers, and Production Planners. These professionals earned a median of $77,500.
    • Source,” which includes Buyers, Category Managers, Commodity Managers, Procurement Specialists, Purchasing Managers and Sourcing Managers. These people earned a median of $74,000.
    • Make,” which includes Operations Managers and Directors and Production Managers. Makers earned a median of $82,000 – the second highest function surveyed.
    • Deliver,” which includes Logistics Coordinators and Managers, and Transportation Analysts. These professionals earned a median of $72,858.
    • Return,” which includes Logistics Managers, Inventory Managers, Materials Managers and Warehouse Managers. These people specialized in reverse logistics earned a median of $77,527.
    • Enable,” which includes Directors of Supply Chain, Production Planners, Supply Chain Managers, and Consultants. These professionals earned the most, at a median of $98,625. This is unsurprising given the strong leadership skills involved.

The Gender Pay Gap is Narrowing:

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the lack of women in leadership positions in Supply Chain, even several years after many in the industry began tackling this problem – and initiatives by Supply Chain Canada and others to highlight the excellent women helping lead the Supply Chain field. A big part of this discrepancy is the persistent gender pay gap between male and female Supply Chain practitioners. In short, there’s a gender pay gap in most professions, but it’s prevalent in the Supply Chain, which has a history as a male-dominated field. As that continues to change, the survey had some interesting findings about how the gender pay gap is following suit:

The survey found that for Supply Chain professionals under 30, earnings were on average the same regardless of gender – for the second year in a row. This shows that the gap is narrowing at the junior end, but other big issues are persistent: namely that women earn less than their male counterparts as they rise into leadership roles, and women aren’t elevated into Supply Chain leadership roles as often as men. (Check out our recent post on the latter for more discussion on this topic).


It’s an awesome survey with insightful data for anyone in the Supply Chain, whether you’re a hiring manager or a candidate looking to learn more about career trajectories. Check out Supply Chain Dive‘s article on the survey, as well as the survey itself from ASCM.

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