Transport & logistics Career Pathways & Advice
Transport and logistics professionals bring their highly efficient, super-organised selves to an industry that often exists in the background, viewed only through spreadsheets and time schedules.
Logistics is a major sector that plays an essential role in the UK and global economy. Working in tandem with transport, it deals with the safe and efficient movement of people and products, supplying many companies with the items they need daily. This can include passengers that travel by road, rail, air and sea, as well as products that are imported and exported through the logistic supply chain.
The logistics and transport sector enables management of the supply chain by ensuring that goods or services are available where and when they are needed and that they are in good condition. This industry operates 24 hours and doesn’t stop, so part time work and shift work is very common. Some jobs may require their staff to work early morning, evening and night shifts, as well as at weekends.
The sector is so diverse that there are lots of different areas people can move into. Roles include those in planning, strategy, finance, marketing and information technology departments. When it comes to manufacturing a product, you can break logistical roles into five key areas: sourcing, transportation, storage, production and distribution.
The work can be stressful but also highly rewarding, and you should also be willing to take on responsibility early and have the ability to see the bigger picture so that you know the impact of your decision making.
Transport & logistics Jobs
Working in logistics and transport requires a large number of general skills, whichever of the many varied careers you choose to pursue.
Logistics is all about making sure that each job gets done in the right order and at the right time, so you’ll need to be organised, good at planning, be able to see the bigger picture, and be great with people.
If you are a natural at organising things, have an eye for detail and a passion for people, then a career in this sector could be perfect for you.
Depending on your specific job you may also need to demonstrate skills in management of people, research and mathematical, statistical or scientific interpretation.
An awareness of the built environment and how supply chain and logistics can be ethical and green for all those involved is increasingly important.
Other essential skills include:
- Commercial Awareness
- Customer Service
- Problem Solving
Many employers offer fast track schemes for university graduates to enter into logistics and transport. The application criteria and specific detaiIs will depend on the employer. Once you’re on a graduate scheme your career route – at least for the next couple of years – will be set.
This is a sector that doesn’t require a lot of training once you’re in a company – rather, moving up will depend on your aptitude, organisation and practical skills. Across the board, those working within this sector have the opportunity to take on responsibility and move up quickly.
You won’t need further training for the majority of jobs in this industry, and what you do need is likely to be offered on the job.
There are a couple of exceptions, however – careers including airline pilot and those within the merchant navy will require further training.
Salaries in the logistics sector vary largely depending on your specific job. According to Payscale.com, averages wages in logistics are as follows:
- Logistics coordinator - £21,468
- Logistics manager - £31,623
- Logistics specialist - £30,060
- Transportation coordinator - £23,369
- Transportation planner – £25,590
- Operations manager: £34,441
- Warehouse manager: £27,249
- General/ operations manager: £46,979
- Office administrator: £17,228
- Import/ export clerk: £17,702
- Office manager: £29,067
- Business development manager: £38,000
On a structured graduate scheme you are likely to start with a salary of around £20,000, whichever part of the sector you’ve gone into.
Qualification requirements & subjects to study
Logistics is an easy industry to enter at a high level with a degree. Any of the following subjects might be useful:
- Environmental sciences
- Town planning
- Social sciences
Whilst many graduate schemes in general will ask for a 2.1 from their applicants, logistics and transport is one of the few industries that often happily takes on graduates who have received a 2.2.
How to get there
Work experience within large logistics or transport companies, for example in the warehouse or in administration, should be easy to organise and can set you apart from other candidates applying for the same position. Contact a number of companies and ask if you can shadow a member of staff to start with. If you are taking a degree with a sandwich year or year in industry, this is a good opportunity to find experience in logistics that can set you apart when you graduate.
To get a role in this sector you need to display drive and a passion for logistics, and be able to explain why you have chosen to work in the field. You should make sure you know about the company you are applying for and who their main customers and competitors are, and have researched the role and programme and the environment you will be working in. If you have done any extracurricular activities either before or during university, communicate the skills you have learnt and how you would use them in the work place.
https://www.ukwa.org.uk/United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA)
https://ciltuk.org.uk/Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT)
https://www.bifa.org/homeBritish International Freight Association
http://www.fta.co.uk/Freight Transport Association
https://www.transportassociation.org.uk/The Transport Association
https://www.logisticsandsupplychain.com/Logistics and Supply Chain
http://www.ciht.org.uk/Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation
http://www.iota.org.uk/Institute of Transport Administration