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ASCM: Pandemic Will Accelerate Need for Supply-Chain Experts

The COVID-19 pandemic has put supply chain in the spotlight, as companies and consumers gain a greater appreciation of the crucial role it plays in maintaining the flow of goods and services.

A new report from the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) shows that, in addition to offering high salaries and good benefits, a career in supply chain offers job fulfillment, opportunities for advancement and variety of work.

ASCM’s “2020 Supply Chain Salary and Career Survey Report,” which relies on data collected from more than 2,400 U.S. supply chain professionals, revealed 88 percent of respondents have a positive outlook on their careers and 85 percent said they would recommend working in supply chain to those in other industries.

The organization noted that prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that demand for supply-chain professionals outstripped supply by a ratio of six to one. But ASCM forecast that as the workforce is reshaped by this pandemic, the need for supply chain professionals will only continue to grow.

“The role of the supply chain professional has evolved into a strategic imperative essential for every aspect of a company’s operations to provide the goods and services needed for the economy to thrive,” ASCM CEO Abe Eshkenazi said. “While supply chain professionals have always known their work was contributing to something bigger than themselves, consumers are now more keenly aware of the direct impact supply chain has on their daily lives.”

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A new component added to the survey this year looked at skillsets. Most notable was that leadership skills such as critical thinking and the ability to communicate and collaborate with others were just as important than technical skills, if not more so.

“These transferable skills span industries and, when combined with the right training and professional development, can enhance a supply-chain career,” Eshkenazi said.

Additional key findings from ASCM’s survey were that supply chain professionals with a bachelor’s degree reported a median salary of $78,750, which was 24 percent higher than the national median salary, and that 91 percent of respondents reported receiving additional compensation like bonuses and profit sharing. Yearly pay raises averaged 4.7 percent, which was higher than the national average pay raise of 3.5 percent.

In addition, 79 percent of respondents reported being satisfied with the quality of their benefits, with almost three-quarters of supply chain professionals being offered paid family and medical leave and more than 80 percent receiving three weeks or more of vacation time.

When it comes to the gender pay gap, the study found that for the second year in a row, respondents below the age of 30 reported the same median salary regardless of gender. The report said women aged 30 to 39 reported a median salary that was 93 percent of what men earn. ASCM said that although still not acceptable, it’s higher than what women on average nationally earn, which is 82 percent of what men earn.

“There is still a need for equity in the field, as a wide gap still exists for those 40 and over,” the report said. “However, salaries from those 39 and under show a promising future in pay equity.”

The survey also showed that those who studied supply chain as their undergraduate majors were most prevalent among 20-to-29 year-olds, which is reflective of the growing number of schools that offer supply-chain management programs. The majority of supply chain professionals with graduate degrees have an MBA.