Logistics and Transport

Getting the right product to the right place at the right time and price is the challenge of logistics, supply chain management and transport. In today’s fast-paced global market, companies are increasingly judged not only on the quality of their goods and services, but also on the speed and efficiency with which they deliver them. Due to the increasing technical complexity of distributing standard consumer goods and the globalisation of markets, the link between consumer and vendor has become longer and vastly more complicated.

Efficient logistics management can be the competitive edge in driving up revenue and profits. Areas such as purchasing and supplier management, materials management and manufacturing, inventory management and warehousing, distribution and transport are becoming critical for an increasing number of retailers, manufacturers and service providers.

The work

The logistics industry is growing rapidly in Australia and globally. Australia relies on an expansive transport network of road, rail, air and sea to meet its logistics needs. Occupational pathways in this industry range across technical, operational and managerial areas, providing opportunities for graduates from many different disciplines.

To manage supply chains, logistics companies now use leading-edge technology to provide shared resource efficiency and real-time information in conjunction with rapid transaction processing. The internet has enabled full integration of logistics functions and has facilitated e-business growth.

In Australia there have been several government and private sector initiatives to develop and support the logistics sector, ranging from support for technology research to funding for industry-based training programs. Many organisations now also provide postgraduate qualifications training, creating strong scope for career learning and development. The increased focus on the industry has opened up opportunities for more graduates.

(This profile also appears in GCA’s annual Graduate Opportunities directory. GCA would like to thank the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and Australian Logistics Council (ALC) for assistance with this profile. For more information, visit the ARA (www.railcareers.net.au) and ALC (www.austlogistics.com.au).)

What you need

  • Business, finance and human resources degrees are encouraged for front-end corporate and sales roles
  • Technical roles often require specific logistics or operations research training as part of an engineering, IT or science degree
  • Some universities offer specialised postgraduate qualifications including: Victoria University (Australia) Master of Business (Global Logistics and Transport) and University of Sydney Masters and Graduate Diplomas in Logistics and Transport Management
  • Technical and analytical skills valued
  • Excellent managerial and communication skills

Graduate salary ranges for selected relevant occupations are as follows:

  • Import, export and wholesale manager: $40,000–$55,000
  • Purchasing and supply logistics clerk: $35,000–$48,000
  • Transport services manager: $36,000–$60,000

(Figures from the Australian Graduate Survey 2008, GCA. Ranges refer to the middle 50 per cent of salaries for bachelor degree graduates with permanent residency, in full-time employment in Australia October 2007 to April 2008.)

Industry at a glance

  • 461,000 employed in sector
  • 97% employed full time (supply and distribution managers)
  • Positive outlook (76% growth: supply and distribution managers, 2004–09)

(Source: www.tlisc.com.au; www.joboutlook.gov.au.)