Supply Chain Management Salaries: A Guide to What You Can Make with a Degree in Supply Chain Management

Written by Scott Wilson

distribution of income

There’s no doubt that working in supply chain management is exciting.

When a snowstorm locks up a major air freight hub at the same time a longshore union strike shuts down ports along the coast, you can bet you will be scrambling to reroute critical components from overseas suppliers to production points. Negotiating new deals on the fly, rerouting shipments in transit, and getting creative with regional storage sites is all part of a day’s work. It’s fun.

It can also be pretty lucrative. Getting the goods in on time is a critical function in modern organizations.

From government agencies to international relief organizations to Fortune 500 companies, everyone has realized that the supply chain is key to their operations.

For all organizations that depend on robust and efficient supply chains, finding top talent can mean paying top rates.

People who do well in this field tend to be planners by nature. You know what your SCM degree options are, you have your contingencies in place. So naturally you want to know exactly what a supply chain manager makes long before you start taking out student loans.

We’ve got you covered. You’ll find everything here from supply chain management salary rates at the entry level to senior leadership positions reserved for MBA grads. Along the way, we’ll take you through ways in which your education, location, specialization, and experience can impact those rates.

Supply Chain Management Salaries Are on the Rise

corporate manager in office at night

After making a big splash on everybody’s radar, supply chain managers are seeing the benefits of suddenly being the most popular people at the party.

Job opportunities skyrocketed for supply chain managers between 2020 and 2021. And they are expected to continue climbing for another decade, hitting almost 30 percent between 2021 and 2031 according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When you see that kind of demand hitting any industry, you can be sure there’s not enough slack in the labor market to instantly fill those jobs. And as anyone going into any aspect of business already knows, when supply is low and demand is high, things get expensive. Salaries are no exception.

So How Much Do Supply Chain Managers Make, Really?

You knew when you asked the question that there wasn’t going to be an easy answer.

That’s because supply chain managers work in a wide range of specializations across almost every industry. There’s no way you would expect a logistics specialist in rural Oklahoma to pull down the same kind of coin as the VP for Global Fulfillment working out of San Francisco.

Not only that, but just meeting in the middle of those two pay rates with an overall median figure doesn’t get you any closer to knowing what you can expect to make. Figuring out a supply chain management average salary isn’t any better.

You have to get granular, and you have to get specific.

Here’s where we dive into the details of what supply chain management professionals make. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the government agency that tracks employment data for the American workforce, providing the most current, complete, and accurate salary information available. It provides a good picture of what workers make in different industries and different parts of the country, showing the biggest trends in supply chain management salaries.

Specializations Play a Big Role in Determining Salary Levels for Supply Chain Managers

manager in hard hat using tablet

The supply chain is a long and broad set of processes. There’s a lot of room between a freight dispatcher exploring routes through passes during a Rocky Mountain snowstorm and a procurement specialist sorting through redundant overseas suppliers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t go so far as to offer a full breakdown of all the diverse specializations within supply chain management. There are three BLS categories that encompass all of them, shown here with median salary levels for each:

While these categories give you some sense of the responsibilities and job requirements, they don’t really break things down to the specialty level. For example, you might have logisticians, managers, and executives who are all focused on procurement. They will have different salary expectations than their counterparts working in risk management or in warehousing and storage. Though BLS doesn’t directly address those differences, it does provide salary breakdowns by industry.

Supply Chain Management Salary Expectations Depend on the Degree You Hold

In part, the specialization you end up in will rest on the level and type of education you get in supply chain management. Although it’s probably not impossible, it’s going to be pretty unusual for graduates with an AAS in supply chain management to wind up as COO, and you won’t find too many MBAs down on the docks and in the warehouses.

Careers run a steady course upward, though, and there’s nothing that keeps you from building your education along the way. Mobility between supply chain management jobs is a reality for many.

As a very general rule, you will have no trouble starting out as a logistician with an associate or bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. Work as a transportation, storage, and distribution manager will almost always require at least a bachelor’s, verging on master’s at some organizations. And to become a senior executive, a master’s degree or MBA is the best preparation.

Again, BLS doesn’t offer salary levels by degree, but you can often put two and two together by looking at the common requirements for each of those job categories.

How Logistics and Supply Chain Management Salaries Vary by Industry

Every industry faces a unique market and profit potential. And although supply chains are important everywhere, they can be more critical in some industries than others. There’s also unique levels of expertise and knowledge that are associated with some businesses. That can make supply chain management positions more demanding—and more lucrative.

As noted above, looking at the top executive category doesn’t offer a very clear picture of what’s happening in the supply chain world from industry to industry. But for both logisticians and transportation, storage, and distribution managers, you can get a clear perspective on the top-paying industries:

Five Highest-Paying Industries for Logisticians:

Five Highest-Paying Industries for Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers:

Some of those are exactly where you would expect to find high-paying supply chain jobs—anything in high-tech is bound to be highly paid. Others may surprise you, but still make sense—natural gas and pipeline projects are high stakes and high value, so naturally they are going to bring in the bucks.

Other highly specialized roles may seem like unlikely places for supply chain managers to ply their expertise. In the investment world, for example, the highest paying industry by far for logisticians, you are probably seeing a handful of highly specialized analysts evaluating supply chain financial performance of public companies for big banks and brokerages.

Looking at the Salary for Supply Chain Managers in the Industries with the Most Jobs

woman in front of semi trucks at distribution center

It’s also instructive to look at the industries that employ the most supply chain managers. While the salaries may not hit the same high notes, it’s also a lot easier to find positions in these areas:

Top Five Industries of Highest Employment for Logisticians

Top Five Industries of Highest Employment for Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

These are the industries where tens of thousands of supply chain managers work. They may be more representative of the typical job in the field than those in the top-paying category… but six figures are still well within reach.

Global Supply Chain Management Salary: Even as Supply Chains Have Gone Global, Salaries are Still Impacted by Your Location in the U.S.

Location can have a lot to do with compensation levels in supply chain management. Salaries aren’t just driven by the purely technical aspects of corporate profit, loss, and value-added. They also have to reflect the realities of what it costs for people to live in different places.

It’s also the case that there’s just more demand for talented supply chain managers in certain areas. Transportation hubs, manufacturing centers, major customs ports… on-site expertise is absolutely required. Companies may pay a premium to get it.

So, you won’t be surprised to see that the top-paying states for these jobs tend to be along the coasts:

Logistician Salaries by State

Area NameEmploymentMedian SalaryTop 25% Earn:Top 10% Earn At Or Above:
Alabama        5190       90480      109780      127840
Alaska         520       80180      105190      136750
Arizona        2850       67500       88460      107950
Arkansas        1500       64590       81580      103610
California       25780       83210      105950      132800
Colorado        3560       81330      102440      132610
Connecticut        1600       75600       91410      108140
Delaware         690       94950      106970      137200
District of Columbia        1180      105250      135300      164090
Florida       12280       62460       87300      110820
Georgia        9390       73390       87360      105220
Guam         100       61070       75030      100650
Hawaii         420       89170      107010      127110
Idaho         820       49110       72820       96190
Illinois       11020       65030       84810      106690
Indiana        2740       72560       95220      121100
Iowa        1520       80220       97170      104090
Kansas        2240       56530       76890       97910
Kentucky        2150       63000       80410      104420
Louisiana        1720       61560       81070      103800
Maine         390       82460       93800      107120
Maryland        6480       96710      121060      141860
Massachusetts        3670       79990      106890      141020
Michigan        7940       79810      103770      125220
Minnesota        3010       76280      102470      124330
Mississippi        1030       70300       85790      103230
Missouri        2760       76560       96970      119590
Montana         250       67620       85510      118930
Nebraska         960       74650       93720      119770
Nevada         760       67050       77390       98530
New Hampshire         790       80870       97720      108670
New Jersey        6180       90530      108610      130970
New Mexico         820       78990      100240      123970
New York        5390       80150      102840      130030
North Carolina        6220       68410       90040      110480
North Dakota         190       67920       83870      103710
Ohio        8010       78220       97910      117860
Oklahoma        3740       77460       94370      109910
Oregon        2020       75950       87420      105620
Pennsylvania        9010       78540       96280      113780
Puerto Rico         910       44210       60880       80710
Rhode Island         530       73510       91440      107700
South Carolina        4020       72420       87420      104870
South Dakota         240       62330       79710      100530
Tennessee        3350       63650       83930      102960
Texas       17370       74280       92920      113760
Utah        3260       78390       96590      110090
Vermont         210       77800       93820      113310
Virginia        8600       80180      104330      132200
Washington        3970       87610      106360      136410
West Virginia         510       71310       88440      106870
Wisconsin        4040       69790       84250      103820
Wyoming          90       79440       94370      110090

Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager Salaries by State

StateEmploymentMedian SalaryTop 25% Earn:Top 10% Earn At or Above:
Alabama        1010       99760      130980      164000
Alaska         870      103470      124950      150300
Arizona        2630       88710      112440      151270
Arkansas        1180       92530      123230      165220
California       30160       98990      133630      175130
Colorado        1610      114820      140960      179760
Connecticut        1900      116820      162830      176120
Delaware         410      137260      172490      210230
District of Columbia         500      140560      176220      200870
Florida        9020       98580      132030      172060
Georgia        6710      101230      132780      178850
Guam         140       76350       92060      113650
Hawaii         390      101980      127090      158580
Idaho         730       76100      101270      130690
Illinois        9880      100200      131870      168800
Indiana        2710       90530      114640      150680
Iowa        1770       85680      105000      138740
Kansas        1050       96610      120880      155580
Kentucky        2680       89890      116100      150780
Louisiana        1380       87950      116910      151920
Maine         470       83200      102210      127260
Maryland        3750       99000      127750      171450
Massachusetts        4100      100160      135660      170080
Michigan        6450       86930      113980      152450
Minnesota        2780      103460      134840      183140
Mississippi        1220       71580      102200      127640
Missouri        2030       87810      122150      155370
Montana         240       96010      106550      138260
Nebraska           –      102600      117450      150240
Nevada        1850       79770       98940      124950
New Hampshire         430      115810      150780      186440
New Jersey        5650      129070      164130      208850
New Mexico         510       83740      102990      130420
New York        4880      120030      155180      200210
North Carolina        4600       98190      125650      162410
North Dakota         140       95700      121560      154230
Ohio        6370       85160      115860      156710
Oklahoma        1530       78590      106690      164320
Oregon        2220       82410      110410      136780
Pennsylvania        4810      100930      131870      165630
Puerto Rico         870       64250       98630      135390
Rhode Island         330       94760      126880      155900
South Carolina        2700       97760      128500      165000
South Dakota         280       91120      108000      130070
Tennessee        4240       93790      125340      163470
Texas       19270       97990      130000      169530
Utah        2140       84000      109180      144380
Vermont         340       82660      108310      135410
Virgin Islands          50       61630       79000       98610
Virginia        2670      100860      128360      164020
Washington        2810      110560      135950      166250
West Virginia         440       83820      103500      132640
Wisconsin        2870       95430      124990      164780
Wyoming         130      100300      123330      152620

Of course, in today’s digital world, there are also many important supply chain management jobs that can happen half a world away from the action. You can negotiate contracts, run analytics projects, or come up with new operations strategies from anywhere.

Not everyone is interested in relocating to where the highest salaries are, either. If you want to stay where your roots are, you might still find opportunities out there. A representative sample of different cities around the country will give you an idea of what you can expect to make:


Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers

Each of these metros will have a unique breakdown in salary levels based on the specialized needs of the big industries found there. For example, you might find aerospace big in Seattle, while Chicago may have a more industrial manufacturing bias.

Experience is Part of the Formula for Upping Your Supply Chain Operations Manager Salary 

growth of salary

The final factor in determining what you can earn as a supply chain manager is one that is common in every field: how much experience you have.

There are just as many variables in play at the upper end of the range with respect to region and specialization as elsewhere. But overall, the top ten percent of logisticians earn more than $124,050, while those in the elite top ten percent of transportation, storage, and distributions management make more than $169,070.

And in the BLS category for top executives, the top earners can push past the reporting ceiling of $208,000 per year. If that sounds low, it probably is—BLS just doesn’t track numbers any higher than that.

It’s worth noting that all these numbers are just straight salary. Total compensation in the upper ranks is often padded out by bonuses, incentive payments, and stock options in some industries. That can stack big numbers on top of those salaries, pushing them toward seven figures in some instances.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and employment figures for Top Executives, Logisticians, and Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Managers reflect national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed July 2023.