How can a $1.3 trillion industry, getting bigger every year, be hidden in plain sight?
Easy. The vast U.S. logistics business, which delivers 48 million tons of freight (worth about $48 billion) daily and already employs roughly 6 million people, operates mostly behind the scenes.
“When you order something from, say, Amazon, you know it arrives on your doorstep in two days, but most people don’t think about how,” observes George Prest, CEO of logistics trade group Material Handling Industry (MHI). He adds that the field gets overlooked by new grads in particular, who think of supply chain work—if they think of it at all—as “a guy driving a forklift in a dusty old factory.”
That outdated image is a huge hurdle for an industry that badly needs new talent in high tech, analytics, robotics and engineering. Career changers, take note: Seasoned managers, marketers, data analysts and human resources executives are also in demand. “There are currently six to eight management jobs available for each applicant we get and the median salary is about $80,000,” notes Prest—and that’s even before the wave of boomer retirements the MHI projects over the next few years. In total, says a new MHI report, the logistics business will be looking to fill about 1.4 million jobs, or roughly 270,000 per year, by 2018.
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