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Logistics and transport

How do I get a graduate job in logistics and transport?

Whether you’re dead-set on a career in logistics, transport or supply chain, or you simply want to find out more about the industry, read on to discover the basics: what it means and what you’ll need to work in these roles.

If you’re an able decision-maker and have excellent analytical and people skills, a career in this field could be right up your street.

While there are many different graduate roles available, the popularity of positions in logistics, transport and supply chain means competition can be fierce.

Logistics, supply chain and transport: the definitions

The supply chain includes every person and process involved in getting a product from A to B. Logistics comes under supply chain and differs as it’s limited to the operations involved in the handling of goods – such as storage and transportation. Work in transport goes one level lower, including the processes necessary for one aspect of logistics to work smoothly.

What skills do I need to work in logistics, transport or supply chain?

If you’re an able decision-maker, can handle a lot of responsibility early on and have excellent analytical and people skills, a career in this field could be right up your street. If you are interested in the environment and sustainability, you could make a positive impact in these areas.

While the abilities required for a graduate career in this sector are similar across the board, employers tend to place emphasis on particular skills. It’s important to find out what these are by reading job descriptions, so you can work on demonstrating that you possess them throughout the recruitment process.

Who employs graduates in logistics, transport and supply chain?

Most graduates enter logistics, transport and supply chain-related roles via a graduate scheme with large companies such as DHL, Morrisons and Nestlé.

Employers tend to fall into three broad categories: third-party logistics companies who carry out functions such as storage or transportation for other businesses; other employers with supply chain or logistics functions such as supermarkets, and transport planning employers.

Many graduate schemes are rotational and so allow you to experience different areas of the company – you could spend time working in the warehouse, transport management or within procurement and supply chain, for example. At the end of the scheme you’ll often be given the opportunity to express your preferred area of work.

Where can I find a job?

Check out the logistics, transport and supply chain vacancies on TARGETjobs. The website of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) is another useful resource. Your careers service may also be advertising vacancies and you should take a look at employers’ websites – especially those listed in our article on the logistics, transport and supply chain employers – to find out when they open applications up to graduates.

What type of university degree will employers in logistics, transport and supply chain accept?

For supply chain and logistics roles, many positions will be open to applicants from all degree backgrounds, although some employers may favour business or supply chain-related degrees. In transport planning, some companies ask for candidates with a related degree – such as in engineering (for engineering companies), maths, geography or transport planning.

You can get into logistics, transport and supply chain with a 2.2, though there are fewer opportunities than for people with a 2.1 – particularly when it comes to graduate schemes and particularly those in transport planning. For individual graduate jobs, you are more likely to be able to apply with a 2.2.

How do I apply?

Large employers in logistics, transport and supply chain will often have an application process that involves an online application form and a round of psychometric tests.

Some schemes will also involve a video interview. If you are successful, you will be invited to a face-to-face interview or (most likely) an assessment day with other candidates.

When do I apply?

Graduate schemes usually open in August or September and close in November or December. Individual graduate jobs will often follow this schedule, although they will have more openings outside of these dates and some will recruit all year round. You should aim to apply between August and November in your penultimate year at university.

What is the typical graduate pay in logistics, transport and supply chain?

Graduate schemes with big recruiters, candidates will often offer a salary between £24,000 and £27,000. Smaller companies may offer a lower starting salary.

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