Transport and logistics focuses on the sourcing, purchasing and movement of services, materials and goods. A global industry, most major companies have a transport and logistics department, from Apple to Domino's Pizza. As a result, there are a diverse range of roles available to new graduates, from transport planner and distribution manager to roles in operations and purchasing.
With such a variety of career paths on offer, it is an excellent choice for graduates who have multiple skills, but aren’t sure which industry or field they want to specialise in, as well as those who have a specific interest in the industry.
If you’re interested in a career in transport and logistics, there are a range of roles open to you.
Major companies that deal with transport and logistics include Arriva, DHL International, EasyJet, Faber Maunsell, FedEx, FirstGroup, GMPTE, Heathrow, Intelligent Transport Systems, National Express, Network Rail, P&O Ferries, Royal Mail, RyanAir, Transport for London (TfL), Transport Scotland, Virgin Atlantic and WSP Group. Major companies in other industries that have transport and logistics departments include Amazon, Apple, Danone, The Army, LiDl, Veolia, Caffe Nero, Domino’s, Morrisons, L’Oreal and AstraZeneca.
To enter the transport and logistics industry, you’ll generally need a good degree in one of a range of disciplines, depending on the role you wish to do. For example, some companies prefer a logistics-related degree for logistics and supply positions, while others are happy to accept degrees from other disciplines. There are also a number of graduate schemes on offer from large companies such as Morrisons.
As with many other industries, evidence of related work experience, internships and core competencies such as logical thinking, numeracy, problem-solving and communication skills are all highly valued and should be included in your application.
Transport and logistics is an excellent career choice for non-graduates, as there are a wide range of roles that do not require a degree. There are also a number of roles and companies that offer apprenticeship programmes, giving you the skills and experience you need to progress in the industry. Other roles, like pilot or coach driver, do not require a degree, but will require professional qualifications, such as an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) or a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
As with graduates, related work experience, internships and key skills such as numeracy, communication, organisational and language skills will all be looked on favourably and should be highlighted in your application. You could also consider studying a vocational qualification through bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT).
Although you do not always need professional qualifications for roles in transport and logistics, there are many companies who will support further study to enhance your skills and career prospects. For some roles, professional qualifications from bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport UK (CILT) or the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) are required to advance your career to the highest levels.
The application process for transport and logistics roles varies greatly depending on the job in question. For most office-based roles, it will follow some or all of the steps below:
The average graduate starting salary is circa £26,000 per year, depending on the role, company and location. Starting salaries for non-graduate roles vary, but will generally be around £15,000 per year. Your salary will increase with experience, often dramatically, with some senior roles and pilots earning upwards of £100,000 per year.
The downsides of a career in transport and logistics vary depending on the role. They include long hours, shift work, a heavy workload, frequent travel including nights spent away from home and, in the case of pilots, bus and coach drivers, the stress of ensuring passenger safety and comfort.
With such a wide variety of roles and career paths on offer, the transport and logistics industry is rewarding both financially and in terms of opportunities and career progression. Perfect for you if you’re keen on a specific career, such as pilot, it’s also a good option for if you want to use your numerical and problem-solving skills and are interested in a range of fields. As a global industry, you may also have the chance to work with international markets and could benefit from the opportunity to travel and work abroad.