In the logistics/supply chain management game, it's not what you do. It's not where you live or even what you know. It's what you're called that matters. When it comes to salaries, job title appears to be the biggest factor in determining what you earn. According to DC VELOCITY's first annual Salary Survey, those at the top—readers with a "C" in their title (CEO, CFO, CSCO)—earn salaries that approach the $200,000 mark. At the other end of the scale, readers whose title is supervisor earn just $61,662 on average.
Those are the extremes, of course. Most readers earn salaries that fall somewhere in between those numbers, typically in the low six figures. To be precise, the average salary for the survey respondents as a group is $103,271. (That represents a pay increase of 6.7 percent over the previous year's average salary.)
Those were among the findings of DC VELOCITY's first-ever Salary Survey, which was conducted among the magazine's readers in late March. The results are based on the responses from nearly 1,400 readers who completed a 12-question survey sent via e-mail to 15,000 randomly selected readers. The respondents' demographic profile corresponded closely with that of the magazine's readership.
Of the 1,388 respondents, 47 percent identified themselves as Cs & Vs, that is, corporate officers and vice presidents. Another 39 percent identified themselves as management—directors, managers and supervisors. About 7 percent reported that they worked for third-party logistics service providers (3PLs), and the remainder were scattered across a variety of jobs and titles.
Investment in people
If nothing else, the survey results make one thing clear: Corporate America today is willing to pay top dollar for top talent. As more companies come to understand the value of top-flight logistics and supply chain expertise, they're more disposed to spend whatever it takes to hire world-class professionals to oversee their supply chains.
Yet as Exhibit 1 shows, it's not only the corporate logistics officers who enjoy fat paychecks. Those right in line behind them are doing very well too. Readers whose title is president or senior/executive vice president make nearly $170 grand on average. Those who identified themselves simply as vice presidents aren't too far behind, with an average annual paycheck of $155,388.
From there, the gap begins to widen, however. Directors make $33,517 less than vice presidents, on average. Managers make $33,263 less than directors. And supervisors earn $26,946 less than managers.
Interestingly, although what you're called (that is, your title) matters quite a bit when it comes to salary, what you know does not. When we looked at salaries by function— that is, by specific area of job expertise—we found surprisingly little variation. As Exhibit 2 shows, only $10,638 separated the top salaries from the bottom. The top earners are respondents who identify their primary function as fleet operations. They earn $113,678 on average. The lowest paid are those who focus on warehouse/DC management. Their annual pay amounts to $103,040.
Song of the South
Of course, there are plenty of factors other than title that influence how much money a person makes. We noticed a good deal of variation in salaries according to the respon- dents' region of the country, company size, years of experi- ence, tenure with current employer, education and gender. Many of those correlations were predictable—no one would be astonished to learn that the more experience you have, the higher your pay. But the survey results also revealed some surprises.
Take salaries by region of the country, for example. You might expect salaries to be highest on the East and West Coasts, where the cost of living is highest. But that wasn't the case. As Exhibit 3 shows, the highest salaries were reported in the Southeast. Survey respondents from Georgia, Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas earned $123,099 on average, out-earning their counterparts both in New England ($108,660) and on the West Coast ($114,845). The second highest average salary was reported by those working in the Mid-Atlantic region (New York, New Jersey, Maryland and the District of Columbia), who earned $117,010 on average. Aside from respondents from outside the United States, respondents from the Midwest reported the lowest average salary: $95,545.
Stay in school
As for the correlation between salaries and education, there were no surprises there. The survey data showed that the higher the respondent's level of education, the higher the salary. (See Exhibit 4.) The average salary for respondents with a four-year college degree is $106,934. That compares to just $84,564 for those respondents whose education ended with high school.
As you might expect, it pays to go to graduate school. Respondents who have earned a master's degree reported an average salary of $111,586. They are out-earned only by those who have gone on to obtain a doctor's degree. Respondents with a Ph.D. reported an average salary of $137,141.
For instance, when we broke down salaries by age (see Exhibit 5), we found that age matters ... to a point. The lowest average salary ($55,849) was reported by the youngest respondents (those between 18 and 25). The highest average salary ($126,450), however, was reported not by the oldest respondents (those over 65), but by the second-oldest respondents (those between the ages of 61 and 65).
It was pretty much the same story when we broke out the responses by years of experience (see Exhibit 6). As you might expect, the seasoned professionals earn more than the rookies do. At the top of the scale are the respondents with more than 21 years' experience, who average more than $124,000 a year. At the other end are those with fewer than five years of experience, who earn an average of $79,719.
The same pattern held when we looked at salaries by tenure with existing employer. Those who have been with the same company for more than 21 years average $117,692. Those who have joined their employer within the last five years earn just $89,688 on average.
Going for the gold
Of course, there are countless other variables that could enter into any given person's salary—job performance, departmental budget, perks and benefits, to name a few. But generally speaking, the primary factors in determining salary are title, region of the country, age, education, experience and gender (see sidebar).
What does that mean for those eager to boost their earnings? Well, there's not much you can do about your age or gender. But you can move to a different region of the country or go back to school. And if you're under 50, be patient. The rest will come with time.