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ASCM Insights

5 Undeniable Reasons to Work in Supply Chain

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When I began writing SCM Now Impact, nearly 15 years ago, the idea was to spotlight something interesting happening in the news each week and explore how it related to supply chain. About a dozen ASCM employees would get together to discuss our options and select a topic. Back then, we were able to identify maybe two or three news pieces to share and consider. These articles never talked about supply chain directly, of course; instead, keywords such as operations, logistics or manufacturing signaled that a story might have potential. To be honest, it was sometimes tough to find a clear link to our industry, but we eventually made the connection.

How things have changed. Now you can’t browse any major media website or scroll through your daily email newsletter without reading something about supply chain. This is such an exciting moment for our field and such an exciting field in which to work. With so many great companies hiring right now, there’s no better time to entice and inspire the supply chain professionals of the future. I urge you to share the following list with your kids, friends, relatives, neighbors and others. Compiled by the ASCM team, here are the top five reasons why supply chain careers offer such an incredible future.

1. Supply chain is cooler than it sounds. Supply chain organizations have evolved and continue to evolve with every new technology and innovation. Modern production lines are configured for efficiency and equipped with automated, programmable robots, which in turn create high-tech roles for humans. Likewise, today’s logistics, transportation and distribution professionals are doing a lot more than delivering boxes. They’re strategizing product movement up and down the supply chain, from the source to the final customer and all points along the way.

Meanwhile, information flow specialists are managing product information, order details and financial data while coordinating with partners throughout the network. Procurement officers are developing relationships with suppliers across the globe in order to purchase critical materials on time and at the right price. Demand planners are combining data analytics with past experience to quite literally predict the future. And inventory managers are ensuring uninterrupted production, sales and service.

At a high level, supply chain touches every step from growing, mining or creating a material to responsibly managing its end of life — and all of the strategic activities in between: sales and operations planning, new product development and engineering, risk management, corporate social responsibility, and so much more. The fact is, supply chain is such a far-reaching field that there’s truly something for everyone.

2. Supply chain professionals are in demand. The number of available supply chain jobs is close to a 20-year high. A quick online search shows a huge number of openings at Amazon, Apple, Flipkart, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, SpaceX, Target, Tesla and many more of the world’s best companies.

Across all areas of supply chain, people are finding employment quickly. Whether just graduating college or already in the field, about one-third of job-seekers say they found employment in less than a month. More than half were working within 90 days.

3. Salaries are impressive. Supply chain salaries remain solid, even during a global pandemic. According to ASCM’s 2021 Supply Chain Salary and Career Report, the typical salary for individuals entering supply chain is $60,000. The median salary is $86,000 and $90,000 for professionals with APICS/ASCM certifications. And as an exciting step toward diversity and inclusion, the field even closed the pay gap between men and women under 40.

Importantly, supply chain also offered job stability during uncertain times. The survey found that 95% of respondents kept their jobs during the pandemic, and 21% of those with an undergraduate degree and an APICS/ASCM certification even received a promotion.

4. Supply chain work is rewarding. Industry professionals love what they do. In fact, on a scale from 1 to 10, 88% have a positive outlook on their careers and would recommend supply chain as a rewarding professional path to others. In addition, 45% of industry professionals enjoy four weeks or more paid time off. Nearly all receive paid holidays, and almost 70% have paid family and medical leave. These benefits extend to flexibility during work hours, as well, with supply chain careers increasingly shifting to remote or hybrid models.

5. There’s a diverse and dedicated global community here to support you. ASCM can help get anyone started on the path to a supply chain career:

  • ASCM’s Supply Chain Careers page has numerous resources, including detailed information about how many of the skills you already have can transfer to a job in supply chain.
  • ASCM student and young professional memberships, as well as the Scholars Education Program, provide educational and networking opportunities to the next generation of supply chain leaders.
  • ASCM’s mentorship program connects you with people who can introduce you to the profession and help guide you throughout your career.
  • Award-winning ASCM publications provide essential insights and information on all aspects of supply chain and are a valuable resource for you no matter where you are in your career.
  • Events such as the ASCM CONNECT Annual Conference keep you apprised of the latest supply chain trends while connecting you with your supply chain colleagues from around the world.

Now, I have a question for current industry professionals: Did we miss anything? Share why supply chain is an amazing career on our LinkedIn page and help ASCM spread the word.

About the Author

Abe Eshkenazi, CSCP, CPA, CAE CEO, ASCM

Abe Eshkenazi is chief executive officer at ASCM, the largest nonprofit association for supply chain and the global leader in supply chain organizational transformation and innovation. Prior to this, he was the managing director for the Operations Consulting Group of American Express Tax and Business Services. His leadership roles have included project management, business process redesign, and individual and organizational alignment. Eshkenazi may be contacted through editorial@ascm.org.

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