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Logistician

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Overall Score
(5.9 out of 10)

Number of Jobs

27,600

Median Salary

$72,780

Unemployment Rate

5.8 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Business Jobs #17
The 100 Best Jobs #75

Ever wonder who coordinates the response to major natural disasters, such as hurricanes or earthquakes, or plans cleanups of environmental disasters like oil spills? Logisticians make sure the necessary equipment, supplies and skilled technicians arrive quickly and with the right tools at their side. Their skills lie in making such impressive, behind-the-the scenes undertakings appear effortless, so companies and governments can continue running smoothly. But logisticians don't just deal in disaster response: They also focus on supply chains – identifying areas for improvement and developing strategies to minimize costs and maximize efficiency. Logisticians populate almost every field, from retail to finance to government. In the private sector, they handle shipping, distribution, warehousing and quick deliveries to customers.

While logistics is a relatively narrow field, job growth is higher than the average for all occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment will increase by 21.9 percent between 2012 and 2022, with 27,600 jobs added.

Salary

The median annual wage for logisticians was $72,780 in 2012, with the lowest-paid 10 percent earning $45,190 and the highest-paid 10 percent earning $112,100. The top earners for this profession reside in the metropolitan areas of Bellingham, Wash., San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C. The top-paying industries for this profession include software publishers, mining support, and petroleum and coal products manufacturing.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $91,210
Median $72,780
25th Percentile $57,090

Training

Most logisticians start with a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, supply chain management, process engineering or industrial engineering. As logisticians rise into the management ranks, many get a master's of business administration or a certification in a range of specialties. On-the-job experience is also important, and logisticians should keep up with evolving technology like radio frequency identification tracking systems and new inventory-control software. Many logisticians also have a military background, since moving material under adverse conditions – a military specialty – is excellent training for the challenges of commerce. They also tend to be well-organized, good communicators and problem-solvers.

Reviews & Advice

The current state of global economies and need to reduce both public and private operating costs has created a strong demand for logisticians who understand the operations of an entire organization, according to Sarah James, executive director of SOLE–The International Society of Logistics. She says the need for logisticians will likely grow even more. "Since logistics impacts every element of an organization at all levels, the logistician who can integrate all enterprise activity may well become the next 'must have' in the C-suite," she says. That means aspiring logisticians might want to consider additional certifications and management or leadership training as their career progresses. As logisticians gain experience, they can move into middle- and senior-management positions, especially those who find new ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. Some logisticians parlay their experience into a job with a consulting firm or start their own advisory or outsourcing firm.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good Above Average
Stress Level poor Above Average
Flexibility poor Low
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Last updated by Katy Marquardt.


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