Canadian Shipper


Spreading the wealth

This economic recovery has been referred to as the Great Okay – there is growth but nothing to get overly excited about. For supply chain professionals there is growing job security – daily layoffs and nail-biting uncertainty are thankfully years behind us. But with continuing focus on cost control (see our Inside the Numbers report on page 52) the chances of returning to the pre-recession days of swiftly growing salaries appears unlikely, according to the results from our annual Survey of the Canadian Supply Chain Professional.

For the third year in a row, the survey was conducted in partnership with our sister publications MM&D and Purchasing B2B, as well as the Supply Chain Management Association, offering one comprehensive national survey which included responses from more than 1,500 supply chain professionals across Canada.

Once again this year we are breaking out all survey results to show the overall survey average and the results specific to Canadian Shipper readers. Our readers have a strong transportation management focus (as opposed to warehousing or purchasing) and we feel it is more accurate to isolate their results.

Two years ago we were hopeful that things were looking distinctly better when we found that 71% of our survey respondents received a salary increase, a marked improvement from dismal 2009 when only 39% received a pay increase. But, as we commented in last year’s report, the research proved we were overly optimistic. Last year’s survey found that only 66% of survey respondents received an increase in 2013. And this year, unfortunately, it’s more of the same with only 65% of respondents reporting a pay increase. When we isolate Canadian Shipper readers it’s even more disappointing as only 62% received an increase. This is a far cry from the pre-recession years when more than three quarters of supply chain professionals could count on an annual increase.

Looking at the size of increases received, more than two thirds (67%) of respondents received an increase above 2%, which also represents a drop from the past two years’ results. The vast majority (40%) received a salary increase in the range of 2.1-4% with 27% receiving increases above 4.1%. Canadian Shipper respondents did a bit better in terms of receiving an increase above 2% with 68% doing so. The vast majority (46%) had a raise in the 2.1-4% range but only 22% received an increase greater than that.

The mean gross salary for 2014 was $86,465 for Canadian Shipper readers with 39% of our readers now pulling in base salaries of $80,000 or more and 20% reporting six-figure base salaries.

Looking at mean compensation levels by supply chain function, our readers deemed to be involved in supply chain management are by far the best paid, enjoying a mean base salary of $94,514. Those with demand planning/forecasting functions are the next best paid with a mean compensation of $93,140. Those with transportation functions had a mean salary level of $88,137.

When examining salary levels by position within the organization, what’s more informative than simply paying attention to the actual figures is paying attention to the gaps from one level to another. For example, our readers in operational or tactical roles earned a mean salary of $73,008 in 2014. Those in managerial roles enjoy a mean compensation of $88,849, about $15,000 more. But, as noted many times before, it’s those individuals working for companies sophisticated enough to consider supply chain as an executive-level function who enjoy the greatest spread in salary levels. The mean compensation for a Canadian Shipper reader who is an executive level supply chain professional is $127,500. Understanding your company’s perspective when it comes to the value of supply chain management is critical.

Our survey also records differences in pay levels attributed to a variety of factors such as the sector you work in, the region of the country in which you are based and the size of company for which you work.

Company size makes a similar difference in base pay levels. Canadian Shipper readers working for companies with fewer than 50 people had a mean salary of $69,563, more than $15,000 below the survey average for our readers. Those working for companies with 5,000 or more employees posted the largest compensation level at $96,107. That’s more than a $35,000 difference for those working for smaller companies.

The survey also examined compensation packages in different sectors. Mean salary in the trade/wholesale sector was highest, coming in at $97,382 followed by natural resources at $95,803.

Geographic location and its influence on pay is reflective of both long term trends (depressed pay levels in the Maritimes) and new trends (fast growing industry sectors). Looking at the mean compensation for Canadian Shipper readers, only those working in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta came in above the survey average this year.

The survey also looked at the impact of personal factors such as years of experience and education. Our readers are in their top earning potential in the 21-25 year range of their career. Those in that bracket earned a mean compensation of $104,859 in 2014.

Does higher education pay off? Our research shows it clearly does. Those with a university degree earn above $98,000 in pay on average while those with an MBA reported salaries above $121,000.


The majority (39%) of the 1,509 supply chain professionals included in our sample defined themselves as being in the managerial ranks of their organizations and 7% said they were in the executive ranks. Another 10% described themselves as being in supervisory positions.
The vast majority of respondents (80%) were over 35 years of age with the mean age being 45. The majority (88%) had at least a college degree. More than a third (39%) of respondents were women.
Respondents performed a variety of functions ranging from supply chain management (68%) and purchasing/procurement (83%) to transportation (44%) and warehousing (35%). The majority of respondents who are Canadian Shipper subscribers had transportation and supply chain responsibilities. Their survey response totals are shown separately in our charts as a comparison to the overall survey numbers.
The survey enjoyed wide geographic reach across Canada. While 32% of respondents came from Ontario, another 47% were from Western Canada and 17% from Quebec and the Maritimes.
The respondents also represented a mix of small, medium and large enterprises with 43% working for large companies employing more than 1,000 while 9% worked for small organizations employing fewer than 50.
E-mail invitations were sent to supply chain professionals across Canada from e-mail lists provided by Canadian Shipper and our sister publications MM&D and Purchasing b2b as well as the Supply Chain Management Association. The survey was handled once again by the research firm of G. Bramm Research Inc. After filtering out unqualified respondents and incomplete surveys, we compiled data from a record 1,509 respondents. This represents a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


As the leading and largest association in Canada for professionals in supply chain management, the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) is the national voice for advancing and promoting the profession. SCMA strives to ensure that employers recognize the critical contribution that SCM professionals make to the success of their organizations. SCMA sets the standard of excellence for professional skills, knowledge and integrity. With nearly 8000 members working across the private and public sectors, SCMA is the principal source of supply chain training, education and professional development in the country.

For nearly 150 years we have been where the growth is, connecting customers to  opportunities. Today, HSBC serves businesses in over 60 markets around the world. Whether it is working capital, trade finance or PCM solutions, we provide the tools and expertise that businesses need to thrive.