Survey Says: Supply Chain Management Compensation is on the Rise

June 19, 2018

This week saw one of the year’s most highly-anticipated releases in the Supply Chain industry: the Institute of Supply Management (ISM)’s annual salary survey.

As a recruitment company specializing in the industry, we consider it part of our mandate to spread the word about salaries in the field – and educate ourselves even further in the process.

It’s pretty common knowledge by this point that Supply Chain professionals are in high demand. The accelerating retirement of baby boomers combined with the increased prominence of the function in strategic business has made for a job market where strong candidates have tons of leverage. Companies are engaged in a struggle to find the top Supply Chain talent, resorting to improved compensation packages and even lawsuits to hold onto their star performers. Add to this the economy’s prolonged period of expansion, and you have a recipe for a classic candidate’s market; the prospects for Supply Chain rising stars might be higher in this market than ever before, and they know it.

So we were interested – as always – to see this year’s salary survey, and whether the numbers back up what we’re seeing in the market.

ISM’s survey is one of the more far-reaching salary surveys in the Supply Chain industry, collecting results from 2979 professionals in the field about their salary, seniority, industry and other factors they experienced in the marketplace in 2017. The survey respondents included both ISM members and non-members. It covers American data – and let’s be clear, American salaries are higher on average – but it’s still relevant for the Canadian market which has also experienced prolonged job growth and a very strong level of demand for Supply Chain talent.

The top line takeaway is this: the Supply Chain salary picture is in a good place. But there are some lingering issues that need to be addressed.

Here were our biggest salary takeaways from the summary results:

  • Overall, compensation and job satisfaction for Supply Chain employees went up. Median compensation for Supply Chain professionals increased 4% up to $100,000 from $96,000 in 2016. Average compensation increased 1.7% up to $117,425 from $115,400 a year ago.
  • The average compensation for CPOs (including Supply Chain, Procurement and Sourcing) was $263,578. The following results also include Supply Chain, Procurement and Sourcing in the same bucket:
  • The average compensation for VPs was $208,959.
  • The average compensation for Directors was $160,579.
  • The average compensation for Managers was $114,170.
  • The average compensation for Experienced/Sole Contributing professionals was $96,685.
  • The average compensation for Emerging practitioners was $77,595. Not bad for someone relatively new to the market.
  • 4% of those surveyed were unemployed. The survey offers a lower sample size than is completely scientific, but this is lower than the wider U.S. economy’s unemployment rate which ranged between 1% and 4.8% throughout 2017. This indicates that the market for Supply Chain professionals is even stronger than the already-strong wider job market.
  • While the top-line results show strong compensation and growth, female practitioners still earned less, on average, than their male counterparts. This is a topic we’ve written about before. This matches up with the wider economy. In our opinion it’s unacceptable in such an otherwise-forward-looking and diverse field.

In general, the picture is good. Please keep in mind we’re just reporting the top-line results – the full report is available for free to ISM members. But we’re curious about what our Supply Chain compatriots have to say: does this match up with the job market you’re seeing? Does it make you optimistic about the talent picture in the field, and are there any more arenas where there’s more to be done?


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