Logisticians

Summary

logisticians image
Logisticians work to understand customers’ needs and how to meet them.
Quick Facts: Logisticians
2014 Median Pay $73,870 per year
$35.51 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2014 130,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 2% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 2,500

What Logisticians Do

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, distributed, allocated, and delivered.

Work Environment

Logisticians work in nearly every industry. The job can be stressful because logistical work is fast-paced. Most logisticians work full time during regular business hours.

How to Become a Logistician

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs.

Pay

The median annual wage for logisticians was $73,870 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy. Growth will be moderated, however, because this occupation is concentrated in government and manufacturing, both of which are projected to decline.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for logisticians.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of logisticians with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about logisticians by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Logisticians Do

Logisticians
Logisticians manage the life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is distributed and delivered.

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain—the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, distributed, allocated, and delivered.

Duties

Logisticians typically do the following:

  • Manage the logistical aspects of a product’s life cycle from design to disposal
  • Direct the allocation of materials, supplies, and products
  • Develop business relationships with suppliers and clients
  • Understand clients’ needs and know how to meet them
  • Design strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods
  • Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
  • Propose improvements to management and customers

Logisticians oversee activities that include purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing. They may direct the movement of a range of goods, people, or supplies, from common consumer goods to military supplies and personnel.

Logisticians use software systems to plan and track the movement of products. They operate software programs designed specifically to manage logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.

Work Environment

Logisticians
When problems arise, logisticians must respond quickly and devise solutions.

Logisticians held about 130,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most logisticians were as follows:

Manufacturing 26%
Federal government 22
Professional, scientific, and technical services 17
Management of companies and enterprises 9
Wholesale trade 7

Although logisticians work in nearly every industry, nearly half of them are employed in manufacturing and the federal government. About 26 percent of logisticians worked in manufacturing, and about 22 percent worked in the federal government. Some logisticians work in the logistical department of a company, and others work for firms that specialize in logistical work, such as freight-shipping companies.

The job can be stressful because logistical work is fast-paced. Logisticians must ensure that operations stay on schedule, and they must work quickly to solve any problems that arise. Some logisticians travel to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.

Work Schedules

Most logisticians work full time during regular business hours. However, they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly one-fourth of these workers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

How to Become a Logistician

Logisticians
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs.

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs. Industry certification and work experience in a related field is helpful for jobseekers.

Education

Logisticians may qualify for some positions with an associate’s degree. However, as logistics becomes increasingly complex, more companies prefer to hire workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many logisticians have a bachelor’s degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management.

Bachelor’s degree programs often include coursework in operations and database management, and system dynamics. In addition, most programs offer courses that train students on software and technologies commonly used by logisticians, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID).

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of logistics. Logisticians can obtain certification through APICS or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). To become certified, a logistician typically needs to have a certain amount of education and work experience and to pass an exam.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Prospective logisticians can benefit from previous work experience in a field related to logistics or business. Others gain work experience while serving in the military. Experience allows a worker to learn about products and supply chain processes. Some employers allow applicants to substitute several years of work experience for a degree.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills in order to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.

Critical-thinking skills. Logisticians must develop, adjust, and carry out logistical plans. They often must find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to perform several tasks at one time, keep detailed records, and simultaneously manage several projects in a fast-paced environment.

Problem-solving skills. Logisticians must handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues.

Pay

Logisticians

Median annual wages, May 2014

Logisticians

$73,870

Business operations specialists

$63,880

Total, all occupations

$35,540

 

The median annual wage for logisticians was $73,870 in May 2014. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $113,940.

In May 2014, the median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $80,430
Manufacturing 73,900
Professional, scientific, and technical services 72,930
Management of companies and enterprises 72,390
Wholesale trade 65,810

Most logisticians work full time during regular business hours. However, they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly one-fourth of these workers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2014.

Job Outlook

Logisticians

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Business operations specialists

7%

Total, all occupations

7%

Logisticians

2%

 

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy. Growth will be moderated, however, because this occupation is concentrated in government and manufacturing, both of which are projected to decline from 2014 to 2024.

The performance of the logistical and supply chain process is an important factor in a company’s profitability. Companies rely on logisticians to manage the movement of their products and supplies. Supply and distribution systems have become increasingly complex as they continue to try to gain more efficiencies at minimal cost. Therefore, employment is expected to grow as companies need more logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement.

Governments and the military also rely on logisticians. Planning for and moving military supplies and personnel requires an enormous amount of logistical work. Employment of logisticians in contracting firms should continue to grow to meet the needs of the military.

Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities should be good because many logisticians are expected to retire or otherwise leave the occupation by 2024. Prospects should be best for candidates who have previous experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.

Employment projections data for logisticians, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Logisticians

13-1081 130,400 132,900 2 2,500 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of logisticians.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2014 MEDIAN PAY
Cost estimators

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Bachelor's degree $60,050
Industrial engineering technicians

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Industrial engineering technicians help industrial engineers implement designs to use personnel, materials, and machines effectively in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.

Associate's degree $53,370
Industrial engineers

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Bachelor's degree $81,490
Industrial production managers

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Bachelor's degree $92,470
Management analysts

Management Analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

Bachelor's degree $80,880
Operations research analysts

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Bachelor's degree $76,660
Quality control inspectors

Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

High school diploma or equivalent $35,330
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Logisticians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm (visited February 09, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015