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The big quit skips the supply chain

Supply chains have been under constant pressure for several years, but while COVID-19 sparked the great quit in America, this massive outflow of talent never materialized in the supply chain.

The Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM) Supply Chain Salaries and Careers 2022 Report, released this week, found that the earnings of supply chain professionals have increased, satisfaction at work has increased and turnover has remained relatively stable year-on-year.

ASCM found that 14% of respondents took a new job in 2021, up just 2% from the previous year’s survey. Conversely, a March report from Willis Tower Watson’s 2022 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found that 33% of American workers said they were looking for a new job in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 47 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in 2021.

Within the supply chain, however, this mass exodus has not materialized, according to the ASCM, even as pressure on workers has intensified. The association’s survey suggested that supply chain organizations tended to have better work-life balance and higher pay scales than traditional employment.

The survey covered 2,379 American workers in positions ranging from warehouse associates to manager-level professionals. The companies represented ranged from less than $25 million in revenue to over $50 billion.


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ASCM also compiled data on 14 other countries and presented it alongside US data in the report. Industries covered included aerospace, automotive, chemical, consumer packaged goods, government and military, industrial and manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, retail, technology, transport and logistics.

The survey found that 40% of those who found a new job cited a higher salary, while 20% chose a better work-life balance and 20% said more flexible working arrangements. Sixty percent said their company provided a good work-life balance and 60% said they were encouraged to take vacations. Nearly half (48%) of supply chain professionals get four weeks or more of paid vacation.

More than three-quarters of respondents (79%) said their company offered flexible working arrangements and 20% said their company had increased the amount of paid time off offered in 2021.

Wages are rising

The average supply chain salary increased 9% in 2021, with total compensation increasing 12% to $96,000 per year. Additional compensation was received by 71% of respondents, including 60% in the form of a cash bonus, 13% profit sharing, 8% performance pay and 7% overtime. The median additional compensation was $8,000.

Base salaries ranged from $55,000 for the 10th percentile to $150,000 for the 90th percentile. The 50th percentile earned $88,000 in salary.

Overall, 79% of respondents reported a salary increase in 2021, compared to only 59% receiving a salary increase in 2020. The average salary increase was 9%, the ASCM said, compared to 6% in 2020. More than a third of respondents say an increase greater than 8%, with 15% saying it was greater than 15% and 20% indicating an increase between 8% and 15%. Forty-two percent of respondents received a raise of less than 3.9%.

The average supply chain salary in 2021 by job title. (Photo: Supply Chain Management Association)

As with many positions, experience played a role in average salary. While the average entry-level salary held steady at $60,000, the more experience a person had, the more they drove bigger increases. A person with 20 or more years of experience saw their average salary increase from $115,077 to $125,191 per year. Typically, the increase was in the range of 9% to 10%, with those aged three to four showing the smallest increase, rising from $68,000 to $72,625.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

One of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the world is an increased focus on diversity and pay equity. Within the supply chain, women are still generally paid less than men, but the ASCM report found that while overall the pay gap widened in 2021, some progress has been made.

According to the survey, women under 40 earned slightly more than men, but those aged 40 to 49 still earned about 8% less on average. This is down from 15% less in 2020. The pay gap for those aged 50 and over has increased.

The pay gap was 13% in the 2017 survey before decreasing in subsequent years to reach 2% in 2020. However, last year it rose back to 6% even as pay average increased. Women earned an average of $85,000 in 2021, compared to $90,000 for men.

Chart showing the average supply chain salary for men and women across all age brackets.
The average supply chain salary for men and women in 2021. (Photo: Association of Supply Chain Management)

By age, the pay gap was 15.7% for those aged 60 and over; 28.5% for 50-59 year olds; 7.5% for 40-49 year olds; and 0.4% for 30-39 year olds. For those aged 20 to 29, women actually earned 5.4% more than men.

Controlling for race and ethnicity, black men earned more than black women by $84,000 to $81,000 and white men saw a slightly larger gap in earnings, with an average earnings of $90,000. $ compared to white women’s $85,440. For the Hispanic/Latinx population, the pay scale was better for women, who earned an average of $87,000 compared to the average for men of $85,000.

Public versus private employers

Looking at overall pay gaps, the ASCM found differences between public and private employers. Women earned more on average in the public sector ($96,000 versus $92,000), while men had higher earnings in the private sector ($86,450 versus $77,719).

In the public sector, Hispanic/Latin employers topped the average salary range at $102,000, compared to $92,000 for white employees and $88,500 for black employees. In the private sector, black employees earned an average of $85,000, compared to $78,000 for Hispanic/Latin and white employees.

Technical skills

Finally, the ASCM survey asked respondents a series of other questions, including what technical skills were needed in their careers. Despite the growing push for automation within the supply chain, only 25% said technology expertise in artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics was a top skill. Risk management was cited by 40% of respondents, with 55% mentioning project management, 59% inventory management, and 60% knowing best practices.

Professional development was also a big factor in compensation, with each certificate resulting in an annual salary of $10,000 or more. Those with graduate degrees earned an average of $108,000, compared to $84,000 for those with undergraduate degrees and $66,811 for those with associate degrees. More than half of supply chain professionals (54%) have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the average salary of $84,000 is 15% higher than the general population median of $72,830 with a degree comparable.

The entire survey, including results for Canada and Europe, can be found on the ASCM website.

Click for more articles from Brian Straight.

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