CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly
March 31, 2020
Forward Thinking

Survey finds supply chain professionals upbeat about jobs, career

Forward Thinking
The latest Ohio State University Career Patterns in Logistics and Supply Chain Management study finds that CSCMP members like their profession, including its many challenges.

Feeling low about your job and career? Then you must not be working in supply chain or logistics. Eighty-nine percent of the 663 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) members who took part in a recent career study said they feel "the opportunities for building a sound professional career are better today than ever before." On top of that, 79 percent of the survey respondents said they are satisfied with their current positions, according to the results of the 2012 Career Patterns in Logistics and Supply Chain Management study conducted by The Ohio State University for CSCMP.

The study found that supply chain and logistics managers relish the challenges afforded by their jobs. Almost 28 percent of respondents said that what they like best about their work is how challenging it is. A similar percentage said they enjoy the fast-paced, constantly changing environment. (See the chart, below.)

As for what they like least, 38 percent said it is senior management's lack of understanding of supply chain management. That was followed by 19.3 percent who cited the stress and pressure associated with the job. Another 15.2 percent complained about the difficulty of keeping up with the constant changes, and 13.2 percent disliked the long hours.

While many survey respondents are satisfied with their careers, they do find it hard to juggle professional and family responsibilities. When asked about balancing career and family, 50.6 percent said it is either very difficult or difficult. For 25.9 percent, those twin demands are moderate, while 13.7 said it is not too difficult, and 9.8 percent said it is not difficult at all.

In order to be successful in this field, survey takers said, supply chain managers need to have high-level strategic thinking and leadership skills. Sixty-one percent of respondents said that the ability to understand the "big picture" was a characteristic that contributed to their success. Another 59 percent cited leadership and management skills, while 56 percent said analytical ability is important. Other factors cited included interpersonal skills, good communication, a good education in logistics or operations, and having a mentor.

Of the 663 respondents, 185 were women. Slightly more than half (51 percent) of the respondents were between the ages of 31 and 50, 41 percent were over 50 years of age, and only 8 percent were under the age of 30. Just over half (53.5 percent) of respondents have a graduate-level degree. Nearly one-third (30.8 percent) have a degree or concentration in logistics at either the undergraduate or graduate levels. Respondents to the survey tended to come from the ranks of upper management, with 10 percent classifying themselves as president, 18 percent as a vice president, 31 percent as a director, and 26 percent as a manager.

The annual study was conducted by Martha C. Cooper of The Ohio State University; John Santosa of Ohio State; Deborah C. Hurst of Athabasca University; Nada R. Sanders of Lehigh University; and Esen Andic and Mikaella Polyviou, both doctoral students at Ohio State. The full details of the study will be presented at CSCMP's 2012 Annual Global Conference in Atlanta and will be available at later in the year.

What do you like best about being a logistics professional?
Challenging 27.8 percent
Fast-paced, changing environment 27.7
Many different areas of expertise utilized 13.8
Making a difference 13.8
Customer contact 7.1
Other functional interactions 5.6
The chance to teach, train, and be taught 2.9
Other 1.4

[Source: 2012 Career Patterns in Logistics and Supply Chain Management study]

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