Graduate jobs in logistics and supply chain
How to get a job in logistics, transport or supply chain
Graduate logistics and supply chain jobs can be found with supermarkets, retail chains, third-party logistics companies, consultancies and any type of business that requires large quantities of materials. This could set you on the path to becoming a warehouse or distribution manager or supply chain analyst, for example. In transport planning, graduates can work as transport planners for local authorities, civil engineering firms and specialist consultancies.
For an official graduate scheme, the selection process after your initial application is likely to involve an assessment day with other candidates. Make sure you show enthusiasm for the job and the employer to stand out.
There are more tips on logistics and supply chain assessment days here.
Graduate jobs versus schemes in logistics, transport and supply chain
Graduate schemes are formal work and training programmes that employers offer to a group of graduates each year. They are the most straightforward way for graduates to enter a professional-level logistics or supply chain role and are also available in transport planning. Individual graduate jobs are available too, especially in transport planning.
An advantage of graduate schemes is that you are very likely to be put on a training path towards qualifications and sometimes chartership with a relevant professional body. Graduate jobs, on the other hand, are more variable in what they offer, but could be more flexible about allowing you to try a wide range of different duties. Both routes are likely to involve considerable responsibility, such as managing a team of warehouse colleagues.
Top skills to get a job in logistics, transport and supply chain
- Communication and relationship-building: key for learning to manage a team
- Teamwork: you won’t be working in isolation but in a team, and its productivity is important, especially in logistics and supply chain environments
- Numerical skills: needed for stock management and working out efficiency; planners need numerical skills for transport data analysis and modelling
- Commercial awareness: understanding how events in other industries affect your own and your clients’ businesses
- Adaptability: in logistics and supply chain, you are likely to work shifts and, for graduate schemes, may need to relocate
What is it like to work in logistics, transport and supply chain?
Logistics and supply chain jobs (whether that’s working in a logistics or distribution centre or analysing the facts and figures) suit people who enjoy the challenge of making things as efficient as possible and responding quickly to changing demands. Jobs are likely to involve shift work, so working very early, late or at weekends. After some initial training, it is not unusual for graduates to be leading a team of people who are older or have worked in the industry for a long time. Maturity is therefore needed.
Transport planners are often involved in the early stages of a new transport system so may have to wait a long time before seeing the finished result. On the plus side, it is a job that makes an observable difference to everyone’s daily lives.
What degrees do employers in logistics, transport and supply chain look for?
For logistics and supply chain, all degree subjects are accepted, though some employers express a special interest in graduates with business - or logistics-related degrees.
Transport planning is also open to graduates of any discipline, but there is more variation in what employers ask for: some want degrees that involve data analysis, such as maths, economics and sociology; others accept degrees in geography or planning; for transport planning graduate schemes at engineering firms, a civil engineering degree (accredited by the Institution of Civil Engineers) is often a requirement.
Are there any opportunities for graduates with 2.2s?
You can get into logistics, transport and supply chain with a 2.2, though there are fewer opportunities than if you have a 2.1. Graduate scheme recruiters normally want a 2.1, especially in transport planning, though there are exceptions, such as Network Rail. For individual graduate jobs you are more likely to be able to apply with a 2.2.
Boost your graduate job prospects with a year in industry
There are many good reasons to spend a year (typically your third year, if your degree course allows it) on placement in a logistics/supply chain environment, or in transport planning. In short, this is because you will gain hands-on experience of the industry, which makes you stand out to graduate recruiters.
Discover more good reasons to do a year in industry in logistics and supply chain here.