What factors determine salaries in logistics?

The earning potential for jobs in the logistics sector depends to a large extent on the job, but this isn’t the only factor. Two professionals with the same job may have significantly different salaries, depending on other circumstances. According to employment agency Reed, the average logistics and transport annual salary in the UK is 34,715 GBP, with the lowest paid job recorded at a salary of 23,662 GBP and the highest at 54,358 GBP. The main factors influencing salary include:

Location: Pay can vary by region. In most other sectors, pay is generally higher in London than in the rest of the country: however, this is less pronounced in the logistics sector than in many other professions, even in quite senior roles. This is partly due to the existence of the so-called “golden logistics triangle”, an area of the West Midlands which is within a four-hour drive of 90% of the British population. Salaries in the Midlands, particularly Birmingham, as well as in Yorkshire and the East of England - all major hubs for transport and storage - can be surprisingly competitive. In fact, job site indeed.com recently reported that the highest paying cities for logistics managers were Birmingham, Coventry, Slough and Norwich - with London lagging behind in fifth place.

Company size: Large companies and corporations pay more on average than small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Real estate giant Macdonald & Company, for example, offers salaries of up to 70,000 GBP per year for logistics managers, whereas smaller local firms may offer around half this amount.

Professional experience: Salaries in logistics, as in most other professions, usually increases over the course of a career - and for most, logistics is a long-term career choice. The aforementioned Prologis study found that 54% of logistics and supply chain workers have been in the sector for over a decade. Starting salaries for graduate trainees can vary widely, and the chance to progress within a company can be a deciding factor for new entrants to the profession - although an attractive bonus scheme and a company car are often among the other perks offered by employers. While an entry-level transportation manager may earn between 23,000 GBP and 34,300 GBP per year, a logistics manager with around seven years experience can receive a salary exceeding 64,000 GBP.

Industry: The same job can vary in salary depending on the industry in which you work. If you work in retail or transport, for example, you can generally expect a lower salary than you would receive for a comparable job in the aerospace or automotive engineering industry.

Median salaries in various logistics jobs

There are numerous professions in the traffic, logistics and transport sector, with significant differences in earning potential. For comparison, this overview shows the median annual gross salary for the various categories. This means that half of the workers in this category earn less, the other half more.

The following data, taken from recruitment agency Michael Page’s most recent salary guide and from the websites salaryexplorer.com and checkasalary.co.uk, show the most frequently advertised job titles and the average salaries for each -  noting that, as we have seen, figures differ depending on the size and scale of the company, as well as geographical location. It’s also noteworthy that over the last two years, wages have risen by 10-15% for roles at all levels, reflecting the increased importance of the logistics sector.

  • Freight forwarder (air, sea, road): 27,000 GBP
  • Class 1 HGV driver: 36,500 GBP
  • Warehouse operations manager: 50,000 GBP
  • Logistics coordinator: 30,500 GBP
  • Logistics manager: 55,000 GBP
  • Logistics/operations director: 120,000 GBP
  • Inventory manager: 48,000 GBP
  • Transport manager/fleet manager: 50,000 GBP
  • Supply chain manager: 45,000 GBP
  • Freight train driver: 44,000 GBP
  • Warehouse clerk: 22,000 GBP
  • Shipping administrator: 26,000 GBP
  • Cargo ship captain: 29,000 GBP