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A career in logistics and transport can bring you excellent rewards, including the all-important opportunity to fast-track your career. Few careers give you such early management responsibility and opportunity to shine. There is a real shortage of skilled managers in the profession.

The logistics industry in particular, has seen a revolution over the last 20 years, it is now a place where you can gain general management experience, experience in leading-edge technology, use your skills of innovation and develop people-management and leadership capabilities.

With student loans to pay off and in need of earning some serious money, graduates are more often interested in the monetary rewards: Basic salary, car, bonus, even pension. But the most important rewards should be the opportunity to progress your career in a fast-paced and stimulating environment and to gain early responsibility.

Entering the profession as a graduate is one of the best ways of gaining early experience, where the employer invests in you, providing training and development. This will typically include on and off the job training and project work covering customer service, finance, human resource management, information technology, key account management, marketing, operations and sales.

You will need all of these skills if you are to progress to a senior role, where you will need broad based, general management skills as well as specialist technical ones.

Salaries and packages in logistics

Base starting salaries for graduate trainees in logistics range from £20,000 to £25,000. Some employers give slightly more to graduates possessing an MBA as well as a first degree. There is a wide variance in salaries and it is wise not only to consider the salary package, but also to look carefully at the opportunities to progress. Benefits with most companies will include pension, life assurance, around 25 days’ holiday and bonus.

Bonus is normally payable against performance and the achievement of objectives, which can be personal, team, or company ones. Bonuses can range from 10% of salary, to 40%, dependent upon level and company policy. At a senior level, bonuses can be even higher.

Consultancies often offer higher starting salaries for graduates. Whilst it may seem more inviting to join a consultancy offering a better package, you need to ask yourself whether this may limit you in your development. It may, for example, be better to join a logistics company, a manufacturer, or a retailer, where you will gain valuable early line management responsibility, setting you in good stead for a general management role later on.

Joining a consultancy as a graduate and not having line management responsibility will make it harder later on, should you wish to move into a role where you are running a large site or leading a department.

Regional salary differences

Unlike some industries, graduates in the logistics sector do not in general earn higher salaries if they are geographically based in the south east. In some instances a ‘London weighting’ allowance applies, but this tends to be the exception and even then only adds around another £500 to the starting salary.

Given the difference in cost of living between London and other areas of the UK, this does not go very far. This also applies to more senior roles, where there is often little or no difference in salaries offered to senior logistics professionals based in the South East or London area.

Added benefits

Company cars are seen by entrants to the industry as an enormous perk. A word of warning: most senior executives are now opting to take a car allowance rather than retain the company car due to the tax implications of having a company car. But if you are starting out with a student loan to repay and can’t afford your own car, the prospect of being provided with one is very attractive. Company cars or car allowances, are only usually provided when the job you are doing requires you to travel and you need a car to fulfil the duties of your role.

As your progress you will almost certainly have a company car, or car allowance and dependant on the scope of your responsibilities and your base salary could range from £35,000 to £70,000.

Senior level benefits

With seven years’ plus experience, you could easily have progressed to general management level and be running a major logistics operation. This might be ‘in house’, that is, where manufacturers and retailers run their own logistics operations, or ‘third party’, where a logistics company for example such as DHL Supply Chain, or Wincanton run the logistics operation on behalf of the retailer or manufacturer.

As a general manager, the salary and rewards largely depend on the size and scope of the operation you are running. A recent survey of salaries amongst general managers gives an insight into what to expect.

There is plenty of evidence that within the profession it is possible to rise rapidly and to achieve exceptional career progression as well as receive an excellent salary.

Job Title

Average Salaries

 

London

Midlands

North East/
North West

Scotland

Head of
Operations

90,000

60,000 60,000

72,500

Logistics Director

92,500 80,000 80,000

60,000

Logistics Manager

55,000

48,000 48,000

47,500

Contracts
Manager

50,000

40,000 40,000

42,500

Implementation
Manger

 –

45,000 45,000

Logistics Analyst

37,500

25,000 25,000

30,000

Solutions Design
Manager

62,000

37,000 37,000

67,500

Operations
Director/
Business Unit
Director

92,500

95,000 95,000

60,000

Regional
General/
Operations
Manager

60,000 60,000

Warehouse
Manager

37,500

45,000 45,000

27,500

Operations
Manager

50,000

45,000 45,000

42,500

Shift Manager

31,000

35,000 35,000

30,000

Inventory Manager

30,000

38,000 38,000

30,000

Stock Manager

28,500

38,000 38,000

30,000

Stores Manager

26,000

Hudson Supply Chain & Procurement 2011 salary guide
 

The Transport professions

For those looking to get into the transport planning professions, some average salaries are outlined below. If as part of your career you become a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), salaries may vary.

New qualified planners can expect between £16,000-28,000, members of the RTPI can usually expect the higher end of this range. At more senior levels such as Principal Planner or Team Leaders salaries range from £29,000-45,000. This can go up to £80,000 for Directors or Head of departments. Salaries within the public and private sectors are similar, added benefits may vary to a greater degree with those in the private sector often getting less holiday and smaller pensions.

Additional benefits within the public sector include:

  • Generous holiday allowance
  • Pension schemes
  • Car user allowance
  • Flexible working hours
  • Job share.
  • Career progression

Assistant or graduate planners in the public sector can move up the career ladder fairly quickly, with employees in Senior Planner roles after 3-5 years. Gaining a chartered status can help career progression move quicker. Higher up it is also easier to move between planning departments and in and out of the private sector, depending on your career goals and other life choices.

For further information on becoming a RTPI Member, visit the RTPI website.

Transport (distribution) average salaries

 Job Title

 Average Salaries

London

Midlands

North East/
North West 

Scotland

Head of
Distribution 

87,500

85,000 85,000

57,500

Distribution
Director 

95,000

60,000 60,000

70,000

Regional
Transport
Manager 

62,500

55,000 55,000

42,500

Transport
Manager

45,000

45,000 45,000

30,000

Planning
Manager

40,000

43,000 43,000

34,000

Transport
Shift/Team
Manager 

34,000 34,000

Transport
Planner 

37,500

27,000 27,000

28,500

Transport Analyst

25,000

Hudson Supply Chain & Procurement 2011 salary guide
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