At first glance, the logistics industry might not seem like the environment for millennials. However, if you take the time to look a little closer, you’ll find that there are many aspects that are tailored to young professionals. The flexibility for full-time jobs, along with the industry’s fast pace and social work environment, makes it one of the best for gaining experience and building lifelong careers for this new working generation.
Because of various benefits these careers provide, account executives, analysts, project managers, transportation agents, and warehouse operatives are among the best logistics industry jobs for millennials.
Third Party Logistics (3PL) companies are responsible for moving freight all over the world for other companies. They move large shipments from manufacturing plants into warehouses, then distribute them whenever a purchase is made. When you order something online, logistics agents are the ones responsible for picking the order out of the warehouse and shipping it out for delivery. In addition to that, logistics companies assist companies with importing from and exporting to other countries, handling customs requirements on behalf of their clients.
Some companies, like department stores, grocery stores, and chain restaurants, have their own in-house logistics department to handle moving shipments themselves. Amazon has been handling its own fulfillment and distribution for years and has revolutionized the industry by forcing other logistics companies to compete with their two-day shipping.
If you ask any millennial about their career expectations, very few of them would likely even consider logistics as an option. However, there are many reasons why a career in logistics is perfect for young professionals.
As the older generations in high-level positions are preparing for retirement, the necessity for young professionals to replace them is increasing in demand. Because of the low profile of the logistics industry, it can be difficult to find new recruits. Logistics companies are willing to offer extensive training to interns and young professionals in order to prepare them to take these advanced jobs.
If millennials don’t fill the new vacancies, the logistics industry would find itself with 3.5 million empty positions in 2020. That’s not a very distant future. Because of the demand for these positions, most logistics companies are willing to pay higher salaries and offer more benefits. This is all an effort to entice more people to pursue long-term careers with logistics.
After decades of remaining largely the same, the logistics industry has begun to evolve rapidly. The advent of new technologies has created new opportunities for tracking, fulfillment, and automation, which is revolutionizing the entire operation. Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the digital age and are therefore used to using advanced technologies on a daily basis. Being experienced in existing technologies, and quick to adapt to new technologies is instrumental to individual success within such a rapidly changing industry.
In addition to the gradual change over time, the day to day activities of logistics workers is often varied and exciting. Logistics industry jobs are far from boring. With many different customers, projects, shipments, and duties, employees always have a busy schedule with a unique array of tasks, to keep their day-to-day jobs interesting.
In the age of overnight shipping, many logistics companies have altered their business models to incorporate a 24-hour schedule. This means that many positions are available at alternate times, to ensure that warehouses and shipping yards are always reasonably staffed. If your personal schedule does not permit working during normal hours, that doesn’t disqualify you from working in logistics. In fact, it may even be a relief to your employer to know that you could work the late shift.
As you progress into management, it may be more difficult to deviate from a regular 8-5 schedule, but not always. It depends on the company, the position, and several other factors. Warehouse managers and logistics coordinators will need to be working whenever there are people or shipments to manage, so you could get a late shift with positions like those. Even a sales representative or customer service agent could work the late shift, to talk with international customers.
People who work in logistics industry jobs find it to be a highly rewarding career for several reasons. For one thing, logistics is a highly structured organization with a wide variety of different positions, with tremendous opportunities for growth. Because many of the positions that will need to be filled in the coming years are advanced jobs, employers will be eager to seek out and promote qualifying individuals. If an individual is particularly successful within a position, they can feel rather comfortable with their potential for a promotion or raise within the next few years.
Another benefit of logistics industry jobs is that it gives individuals the sense that they are influencing the global economy. Logistics is the backbone for any store, either online or brick-and-mortar. Without it, there would be no way for any of these companies to function as they do now. Logistics forms the entire foundation of online stores since e-commerce retailers would not be able to get their products to their customers without it.
Logistics is a fast-paced operation, and each shipment is planned and delivered in a very short period of time. This means that every day has multiple little victories, and many opportunities to learn from previous shipments. This gives each employee a sense of satisfaction for a job well done, often several times a day.
The fast pace also allows employers to measure their employees’ performance quickly, so they can notice the outliers much more effectively. They can more quickly correct bad behavior, give feedback, and reward employees for going above and beyond their expected duties. This creates an excellent learning environment and allows for faster progression through jobs up to the chain of command.
In order for transportation and logistics processes to be as streamlined as possible, everyone in the supply chain must work together. Individual members on a team must be able to collaborate and communicate with each other to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Setting aside some time to socialize as a team is important for ensuring future communication is effective and friendly. If a team of warehouse operatives does not coordinate with each other, it could get in the way of fulfilling orders quickly.
Different departments within a logistics company must also have strong communication systems in place for the implementation of new projects or daily industry tasks. For example, the marketing department must communicate with human resources, finance, and the warehouse teams to figure out how to craft marketing materials, what the budget is, and what needs to be advertised. Without clear communication, that could easily get out of control.
Logistics companies must have a network of locations established for offices and warehouses, in order to be able to deliver anywhere in a modest amount of time. However, this means that the different locations are separated by physical distance, which often puts a strain on communication. Technology and occasional travel can make communication easier. However, extra care should always be given to ensure that all the different locations are kept informed on the right information.
Younger professionals place much more care into fostering relationships than previous generations and were raised from a young age to know how to effectively communicate over long distances. Proficiency with social media and communication technology is a great skill to have for keeping business operations streamlined.
Working in logistics can provide individuals with great opportunities. If someone decides to move on to a different industry, the skills acquired in logistics could help them succeed. Skills like project management, organization, teamwork, analysis, forecasting, purchasing, and many others can be universally applied in almost any industry.
However, the specific industry knowledge gained through training and experience would not be so easily applied in other settings. Being skilled in freight management or warehouse technology only helps to progress your career in logistics, but not much else.
The logistics industry jobs that are going to be the best choice for millennials are the ones that provide a good experience, along with opportunities to learn and grow. However, many of the positions available within logistics companies fit that description. With such a wide variety of options to choose from, it can be difficult to figure out which entry-level positions will lead to specific advanced jobs. Read on to get a better understanding of which positions make the best starting point for long term careers in logistics.
Logistics account executive positions are like a combination of sales, customer service, and consulting. It is an entry level position that requires a friendly attitude and a desire to learn. The position comes with a long training period in which new employees learn the industry terms and technology while building up their personal book of business. It is perfect for people who are conversational, friendly, and always willing to lend a hand.
Being an account executive is a great place for ambitious young professionals to start their career. The first-hand experience gained in this position could lead to many different avenues for career progression. Account executives may find themselves promoted to senior account executive, logistics manager, project manager, data analyst, or sales representative positions. All of those positions can be stepping stones to even more advanced jobs.
A logistics analyst position is a great fit for STEM majors since it is all about gathering and analyzing data to monitor the successes of the company. Understanding data is essential for the survival of any company, but it is especially important in logistics. With so many clients, laws, shipments, partners, and sales to keep track of, the information can easily become overwhelming. With an analyst on the team, that information can be recorded, documented, and presented in ways that the other departments can understand. That accessible data helps the other departments make the necessary adjustments to optimize results.
The experience gained as a logistics analyst could lead to promotions to logistics engineer, warehouse manager, or even a director position. STEM fields generally yield better opportunities for promotions than other career paths, since many of the needed positions require degrees in mathematics, business management, or other related subjects.
Project management is a big job within any company. In logistics, project management entails managing all the elements of a major company project. This includes managing a team of people involved in the project, creating and following a budget, and ensuring that safety regulations are in place. Since few projects require much-continued maintenance after implementation, project managers are always taking on new jobs. This constant variety means there’s never a boring day. It also means that project managers can achieve a high-level of satisfaction from regularly finishing up major projects.
Project managers tend to have some influence on many different aspects of the business, which gives them a variety of experiences. This well-rounded position is a great stepping stone for those higher-level management or director positions, as a director of finance or logistics operations manager.
Transportation agents are vital to the function of logistics companies. It is their job to manage shipments and track the various carriers moving those shipments. There is also a financial aspect to the job. Agents have to manage costs and find the most efficient way of transporting the cargo. When comparing carriers, transportation agents need to be able to compare the costs and benefits of each mode and individual carrier company, to get the best value. Often, they serve as a point of communication between customers and truck drivers, to ensure the customer of where their cargo is and when they can expect it.
Incoming transportation agents must be trained in computer technology used to manage the cargo. This position is a great way to become familiar with the whole supply chain, as well as gain experience in finance, planning, management, tracking, and data collection. This wide range of experiences would be helpful for moving up into a supply chain management, logistics coordinator, or international logistics manager position.
A warehouse operative position is perfect for young professionals for several reasons. The main functions of the job is moving around the warehouse, unloading and loading trucks, and rearranging large boxes or pallets. This means that someone who is physically fit and able-bodied is necessary for this role. Many people work in the warehouse at the same time, and teamwork and coordination are instrumental in getting everything done in a timely manner.
In addition to the physical requirements, warehouse operatives gain valuable experience in organization and inventory management, and the technology used to streamline those processes. Success in a warehouse operative position sets employees up for promotion to inventory or warehouse manager roles.
There is more to logistics than simply working in a warehouse or monitoring shipments. There are many other positions within logistics companies besides those specific to the industry. Like any business, logistics companies need marketing coordinators, information technology specialists, human resources administrators, secretaries, and even custodians.
Anyone that does not want to work in a job in warehousing or transportation can still find work in the logistics industry. These positions are also highly important to the function of the company and are eligible for many of the same benefits as the industry-specific positions. As the industry continues to expand, more of these positions will need to be filled as well, to keep up with the expansion in other areas of the business.
Logistics industry jobs are perfect for millennials. Entry-level jobs are available for any level of education and have positions to suit any background and interest. Even if don’t get the position that you were hoping for, there are always opportunities for moving around within the company, and getting promoted into more advanced positions.
With that being said, simply being in a logistics position does not entitle you to a promotion. You must work hard to prove your skills and dedication to the company, or they will pick another candidate over you. If you are a dedicated individual with a drive to succeed, nothing will get in your way. No matter what position you start in, if you have the passion, you will rise up the ranks in no time.