Career Spotlight: Transportation and Logistics Jobs

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Are you seeking a career in transportation or logistics? With e-commerce as a driving growth in this sector, the demand for workers continues to increase. This article outlines key roles, the job market outlook, required qualifications, and potential career paths in transportation or logistics jobs. Discover how to navigate this dynamic field and capitalize on the increasing opportunities it presents.

Key Takeaways

  • The logistics profession is experiencing rapid growth due to e-commerce expansion, with a projected 18% increase in logistician jobs and a median annual salary of $79,400 as of 2023.
  • Technological advancements, such as automation and software for tracking and inventory management, are reshaping roles in logistics, necessitating strong analytical skills and proficiency with new tools like AI and blockchain for career advancement.
  • Logistics offers a wide range of career opportunities across various roles, with a critical demand for both technical and soft skills—adaptability, decision-making, communication, and teamwork—and the potential benefit of obtaining specialized certifications.

Supply Chain and Logistics Careers on the Rise

Logistics worker inspecting cargo

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a substantial increase in the demand for logistics professionals, estimating an 18% growth rate for logistician jobs between 2022 to 2032 . This surge in demand can be largely attributed to the demand of e-commerce, especially during and post the pandemic. Although demand has slowed down somewhat from 2023, the outlook continues to look up from a long-term perspective. From supply chain managers to warehouse workers, the increased need for diverse logistics roles has been felt across the board.

The Logistics Job Market

The logistics sector in the U.S. has become a significant employer, with over five million individuals working in transportation and logistics, accounting for approximately 3.6% of all jobs. With such a high number of individuals employed, the sector presents ample opportunities for qualified professionals. In terms of earnings, the market is across the board also. For example, the median salary for a stock clerk in 2023 was $40,450, while supply chain managers median salary was $98,560 in 2022.

An example of logistics careers currently available is Ryder, a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider that provides supply chain, dedicated transportation, and fleet management solutions. Ryder had almost 3,000 jobs available at the time this article was written. Openings exist in their corporate area as well as in warehouse management, distribution management, e-commerce fulfillment, managed transportation, last mile delivery, freight brokerage, truck leasing, maintenance, truck rental, and used vehicle sales areas.

From positions that require a high school diploma to those that demand advanced degrees, job accessibility in the logistics sector is diverse. To stay competitive and anticipate changes, it is vital for logistics professionals to understand market dynamics and remain current with industry trends.

Technological Innovations in Logistics

The wave of technological advancement has been reshaping many industries, and logistics is no exception. Automation is significantly influencing logistics jobs by transforming roles and creating the demand for new capabilities. From implementing robots in warehouses to restock supplies and take inventory, to transparent software systems that allow businesses to know exactly where their products are in the supply chain at any moment in time, logistics is booming with technological advancements.

Diverse Opportunities in Transportation and Logistics

Person moving product into a truck with a forklift

The transportation and logistics industry is a vast field with diverse roles and opportunities. Warehousing, for instance, offers roles such as warehouse workers, forklift operators, inventory managers, and safety directors, each playing an essential part in the logistics chain. The transportation sector also offers a broad array of jobs, from specialized positions like aircraft cargo handling supervisors and bus drivers to management roles like freight forwarders and supply chain managers.

Moreover, some roles serve as crucial intermediaries, like customer service specialists who bridge the gap between logistics clients and teams. Interestingly, some roles may not require a college degree or extensive background in logistics. For those starting their journey in logistics, entry-level analyst positions provide a solid foundation, focusing on data gathering, problem identification, and solution formulation.

Supply Chain Managers

Warehouse manager using tablet to manage inventory

In the realm of warehousing, supply chain managers play a crucial role, overseeing operations and ensuring the secure and efficient receipt, storage, and dispatch of goods. This manager might coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing distribution, or financial forecasting services. Their responsibility is significant, as it directly affects the speed and efficiency of the supply chain.

Supply chain manager positions require a 4 year bachelor’s degree and technology skills on Microsoft Office software and warehouse management systems. The title of this role could be anything from Global Supply Chain Director or Material Requirements Planning Manager to Solution Design and Analysis Manager or Supply Chain Director. Their position is growing faster than average, with an employment increase of 5% or more from 2022 to 2023 in the U.S.

Supply chain managers act as a crucial link in the supply chain and are expected to be in demand for many years to come.

Manufacturing Logistics

Forklift operator in a manufacturing plant

Manufacturing logistics professionals have a central role in coordinating the movement of materials and goods within a manufacturing or warehousing facility with a focus on optimizing production processes. These roles include:

  • Forklift operators
  • Quality inspectors
  • Purchasing agents
  • Logistics managers

Each role has a unique set of skills and responsibilities crucial to the efficient flow of materials and products.

The operational efficiency of a manufacturing facility can largely be attributed to these professionals. Their ability to manage resources and coordinate movement effectively contributes directly to the optimization of production, with each step proceeding smoothly.

Truck Transportation

Smiling truck driver transporting a shipment

The truck transportation sector of the logistics industry includes a number of different roles:

  • Bus and truck mechanics or diesel engine specialists
  • First-line supervisors or managers of transportation and material-moving machines or vehicles
  • Laborers and freight, stock, or material movers
  • Truck drivers: heavy tractor-trailors or light delivery; regional drivers, or those that are home daily

2023 annual median earnings in truck transportation jobs ranged from $43,780 to $68,920. Employment opportunities rose exponentially from 2020 through mid-2023. Employment decreased slightly during the last half of 2023, but is now steady.

Warehousing and Storage

Jobs in logistics warehousing and storage include roles required to operate distribution facilities for general merchandise, refrigerated goods, and other warehouse products. These establishments provide facilities to store goods. The company operating the warehouses take responsibility for storing the goods and keeping them secure. 3PL logistics providers also provide a range of logistics services such as labeling, inventory control and management, light assembly, order entry and fulfillment, packaging, pick and pack, price marking and ticketing, and shipping.

Some roles included in this sector include:

  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers
  • Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks
  • Stock clerks and order fillers
  • Transportation, storage, and distribution managers

2023 annual median earnings in warehousing and storage jobs ranged from $40,450 for stock clerks to $104,760 for distribution center managers. Employment opportunities rose exponentially from 2014 through 2020. Employment is very slowly declining from its high in 2022, but at a very slow rate and continues to provide millions of jobs.

Key Skills for Success in Transportation or Logistics Jobs

Engineering working with logistics data

Success in the transportation and logistics industry is not only about having the right qualifications but also about possessing a set of critical skills. Adaptability, for instance, is essential due to constant changes and the advancement of technologies. Likewise, the ability to make quick and informed decisions under stress is crucial when unpredictable challenges arise.

For entry-level logistics analysts, strong math and computer skills are expected, along with the ability to work well in team environments. These skills form the foundation for a successful career in transportation and logistics, paving the way for growth and advancement in the industry.

Desired College Courses or Degrees

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in logistics and supply chain management, business administration/management/communication, transportation/logistics, or a related discipline is a must for those who aim for higher-income roles that deal directly with a logistics function. A degree in accounting, finance, information technology, computer engineering, computer science, or a number of other areas can land you a job in the logistics corporate world.

Lesser education levels can be sufficient for some jobs in logistics and transportation. Employer ususually prefer work experience, especially when hiring candidates who do not have a degree.

Technical Skills and Certifications

In addition to soft skills, logistics professionals can enhance their employability and expertise through specialized certifications. Some valuable certifications for enhancing technical skills in logistics include:

  • Procurement Logistics
  • Software Deployment
  • Distribution
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • ERP resource planning

Courses and certifications in these areas can help logistics professionals stay up-to-date with industry trends and improve their value.

Examples of positions that require additional skills or certifications in transportation and logistics careers include:

  • Diesel Engine Mechanic or Technician: Vocational or Technical Certification Post Secondary degree or Technical Certifications
  • Warehouse Material Handler: Valid Forklift Operator’s License (certified)
  • Finance manager: CPA
  • Application Developer or Manager: Knowledge of programming languages in .Net, C#, Java, Python, API & Web services, COBOL and DB2, IMS; knowledge of database systems such as MS SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL
  • Security Supervisor: Law Enforcement School Certification
  • Environmental Engineer: Bachelor or Master’s degree in Engineering or Geological Sciences

These technical skills and certifications not only boost a professional’s credibility but also equip them with the necessary tools to navigate the evolving landscape of the logistics industry.

Soft Skills in Logistics

While technical skills are important, soft skills also significantly contribute to a logistics professional’s effectiveness. Effective communication, for instance, is a critical skill in logistics, necessary for successful interactions with employees, clients, vendors, and customs officers from various countries and cultural backgrounds.

Teamwork, too, is a cornerstone of logistics, where efficient coordination and collaboration with logistics partners are required to manage complex shipments and supply chain activities. Problem-solving abilities and the capability to quickly adapt to changes are highly valued in the field of supply chain management. Furthermore, proficiency in the English language is considered essential due to the international scope of logistics.

Preparing for a Career in Transportation or Logistics

Embarking on a successful career in transportation or logistics often involves a combination of choosing the right educational path and gaining hands-on experience.

Choose the Right Educational Path

In terms of education, there are multiple entry points into the logistics industry catering to different educational levels, from high school diplomas and specific licenses to apprenticeships and advanced degrees. In addition to desired college degrees or certifications noted above, transportation and logistics training is provided by a variety of organizations. They include professional bodies such as the Association for Supply Chain Management, the Institute for Supply Chain Management, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals, and others.

Gain Hands-On Experience

Beyond formal education, gaining practical, hands-on experience is essential in the logistics industry. Internships, for instance, provide a platform for individuals to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, understand industry practices, and network with professionals.

Acquiring hands-on experience through internships or entry-level positions not only enhances practical skills but can also lead to opportunities for career advancement to supervisory and management roles in the transportation and logistics sector.

Create your Portfolio

Creating a professional portfolio that demonstrates your qualifications, experience, and past projects is essential for showcasing one’s value to potential employers. It is critical to brush up on your interview etiquette, practice video interviewing, and learn how to deal with interview nerves or multiple job offers should you find yourself in that enviable situation.

First-time job seekers often overlook issues such as work-life balance and managing their health with the correct shift schedule. Yet these are important perks that businesses offer so they can attract the right talent. If other companies are competing for you and your skills, even as someone new to logistics, you have some influence on landing the job that fits with your lifestyle and personal needs.

Resources for Pursuing a Career in Transportation and Logistics

As with any career, having access to the right resources can significantly impact a logistics professional’s career trajectory. Networking events, for instance, can play a crucial role in professional development within the transportation and logistics industry. Events such as Supply Chain Exp, Manifest, LINK, Food Shippers of America, and many others provide platforms for industry leaders to share trends and opportunities.

Industry networking events not only offer a wealth of knowledge but also provide opportunities for professionals to connect with peers, industry leaders, and potential employers. Active participation in these networking events and conferences is advisable for logistics professionals seeking to expand their knowledge and career opportunities.

Industry Associations and Networking

Industry associations provide critical resources, events, and networking opportunities that can significantly benefit logistics professionals and advance their careers. For instance, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals hosts an annual conference where key logistics, transportation, and supply chain management professionals gather to engage with the entire spectrum of the supply chain.

The Intermodal Association of North America organizes an annual expo featuring a deep dive into intermodal logistics topics, providing professionals with an opportunity to expand their knowledge and network with industry vendors and service providers. Moreover, the Accelerate! Conference & Expo hosted by the Women in Trucking Association offers educational sessions specifically targeting gender issues in transportation, while also providing networking opportunities.

Job Boards and Recruitment Agencies

While networking plays a vital role in career advancement, specialized recruitment agencies and dedicated job boards can also streamline the job search process for logistics professionals. One needs to simply do a search on “logistics job boards” to find multiple resources. From niche specific job boards that list available jobs in the industry to employment agencies that specialize in finding and offering logistics jobs, the opportunities abound.


The transportation and logistics industry is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field offering a myriad of career opportunities. From warehousing and manufacturing to transportation management, the sector is diverse and multifaceted. The rise of e-commerce and technological advancements have further fueled the demand for skilled logistics professionals. With a range of roles available, robust growth prospects, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of global commerce, a career in transportation and logistics is both rewarding and fulfilling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the expected growth rate for logistician jobs?

The expected growth rate for logistician jobs from 2022 to 2030 is around 18%, which is higher than the average growth rate for most occupations. This indicates strong prospects for job opportunities in this field.

What roles are available in the field of manufacturing logistics?

In the field of manufacturing logistics, roles such as forklift operators, quality inspectors, purchasing agents, and logistics managers are available, each requiring specific skills and responsibilities.

How can I enhance my employability in the logistics field?

To enhance your employability in the logistics field, focus on gaining hands-on experience through internships and entry-level positions, while also obtaining specialized certifications. This will make you a more attractive candidate for logistics roles.

What resources are available for professionals pursuing a career in transportation and logistics?

Professionals pursuing a career in transportation and logistics can access valuable resources through networking events, industry associations, specialized recruitment agencies, and dedicated job boards to support their career development.

  • Beverly Mapes

    Beverly is a business owner and operator since 2008 and is actively involved in the human resources functions and employee management of her team members.