Viewpoint: Be a life-long learner

As is tradition, the cover of the April issue of Logistics Management (LM) is devoted to the findings of our Annual Salary Survey, a research project that not only fuels our best-read editorial feature of the year, but offers us the foundation for the most highly-anticipated webcast that our editorial team produces.

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As is tradition, the cover of the April issue of Logistics Management (LM) is devoted to the findings of our Annual Salary Survey, a research project that not only fuels our best-read editorial feature of the year, but offers us the foundation for the most highly-anticipated webcast that our editorial team produces.

First I would like to thank the 801 LM readers (up from 669 in 2011) who took the time to complete the e-mail survey back in February. Considering just how precious your time is today, the fact that our sample actually grew by 132 respondents certainly validates the importance you place on this project.

I would also like to acknowledge the work that’s done by Judd Aschenbrand, research director of Peerless Research Group (PRG), and his team in administering the survey and helping us to put context around the data. The project represents a two month effort; and without PRG’s diligence, the most comprehensive survey of current logistics and supply chain salary levels simply wouldn’t exist.

As for the findings, a few themes certainly stood out from our 2012 edition. After all of the data had been rolled up, our researchers found that salary increases were mainly flat over the 2011 findings. This year’s overall median salary (the midpoint of the entire range of responses) only ticked up by a mere $1,000, from $90,000 in 2011 to $91,000 in 2012.

And as we’ve found over the many years, it’s the median that sets the tone for our more detailed salary breakdowns. “The median quickly told us that any significant salary jumps or corrections from the recession have cooled off,” Executive Editor Patrick Burnson told me as he wrapped up this year’s story (page 28).

And while there were very few leaps in earnings across the board this year, what we did find is that there remain several common denominators to continued salary growth: technology adoption and a life-long commitment to learning.

The most significant factor, says Burnson, is that our research team is finally beginning to see some younger respondents reporting in this year—and they’re looking to apply technology in any way they can. “When gathering our open-ended responses, we found that an aging workforce may be finally giving way to a younger, more highly-trained professional who also happens to be a savvy technologist,” says Burnson. And he reports that higher salaries continue to correspond with adoption of today’s technological tools in moving freight.

For years this survey has found that those with advanced degrees or managers who engage in continued education have pulled in the higher salaries. This year is certainly no different. The logistics professional with an MBA earns, on average, $24,000 more a year than a shipper with a four-year degree.

Dr. Ted Stank, professor of logistics at University of Tennessee, tells Burnson that education can no longer end at graduation.

“Key areas such as decision analysis, IT tools, cross-functional and cross-organizational teaming, along with finance will remain in demand…and logistics managers should pursue coursework to prepare for the realities of the world in 3 to 5 years,” Stank says.

According to Stank, the key to growing your logistics career can be summed up in just a few words: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”


About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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