The supply chain industry has gained plenty of steam in recent years and its importance to businesses of all stripes means that those who handle it deserve to be well-compensated. The good news is that recent industry data shows this is happening even for new entrants into the field, and that's a trend that appears likely to continue for some time to come.

Today, the median salary for a supply chain professional in the U.S. is roughly $86,000, and entry-level positions pay roughly $60,000, according to the latest Supply Chain Salary and Career Survey Report from the Association for Supply Chain Management. Furthermore, there has been a long-standing pay gap for women in the industry under the age of 40, but that's less of an issue these days. That demographic group actually out-earns men under 40 by more than $2,000 now.

And, because of the ever-growing need for qualified pros in the industry today, 87% of respondents to the survey said they received a cash bonus in addition to their salaries, the report said. Meanwhile, only 5% of those polled said they lost their jobs amid the pandemic. New employees into the field are also enjoying some benefits: one-third of recent college grads got a job in the sector in less than a month, and more than half did so within three months.

Hiring competition is increasing, and procurement pros are reaping the benefits.Hiring competition is increasing, and procurement pros are reaping the benefits.

Incentives on the rise
At the same time as salaries and cash bonuses continue to climb, companies also know they have to do more to attract top talent, according to The New York Times. Across a number of industries, the signing-bonus and ongoing perks new hires enjoy are proliferating.

This includes everything from fully remote work to paying student loans or tuition, covering meal costs and so on, the report said. For the most part, companies find even extremely generous benefits to be more affordable in the long run than providing all employees with higher pay.

A struggle persists
Despite all the positives above, the reality for many businesses is that there aren't enough people coming into industries in and around the supply chain to fill all the open jobs — even with the promise of higher wages, better benefits and more, according to Business Insider. That may be because other industries are following the footsteps of logistics and manufacturing companies have been setting for years, and offering livable incomes for work that used to be closer to minimum wage.

Fast-food companies and other employers that have traditionally paid lower wages are being forced by the principles of supply and demand to raise their offerings, moving them into direct competition with warehouses and factories in many parts of the U.S., the report said. They have a long way to go, however; in April, the average manufacturing worker earned almost $23.50 per hour — close to $49,000 annually — and that number was more than 50% above what the average restaurant worker made. However, as recently as a decade ago, the gap was 82%, so things are shifting quickly. 

For these reasons and more, businesses in the supply chain may need to be more proactive about boosting salary and benefits offerings, to not only attract talent, but retain it on an ongoing basis.

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