Transport and logistics: careers on the move

Posted October 25, 2013, by Helen Isbister

For a job that will get you from A to B in no time, transport yourself into a logical career choice! Gigs in transport and logistics are well paid, varied and abundant. So don’t miss the bus on a career path that is going places – fast.

Almost five per cent of Australia’s workforce is employed in transport and logistics and with activity set to double by 2020, there are plenty of job opportunities on offer. 

‘T&L is the industry that underpins every sector of our economy. Without it, everything slows down. If we can’t do things like get our food delivered to supermarkets or travel to places we need to go, absolutely everything stops’, says Louise Perram-Fisk, State Committee Member (Queensland) at the Supply Chain & Logistics Association of Australia.

The $63 billion T&L industry is hungry for truck drivers, store persons, bus and coach drivers, train drivers and forklift operators, but there are a whole lot of other positions to appeal to any job hunter’s interest.

‘In our organisation, we have people who specialise in law, e-commerce, human resources, air freight, sea shipping, general management and supply chain’, says Michael Thirgood, State Manager at logistics and supply chain company BCR Australia.

‘You can start in a yard washing trucks or operating a forklift, and end up as the general manager of a company running 200 trucks’, says Athol Carter, Transport Operations Coordinator at Ostwald Bros.

In the past, the industry has found it difficult to attract young people due to a lack of knowledge about the opportunities it has to offer. And with the ageing workforce, recruiting the right candidates can be hard. 

Recruitment for transport and logistics has also fallen victim to the mining and resources industry boom, but as this industry slows down, the skills shortages in transport and logistics should start drawing more skilled workers into the sector.

‘Sometimes people only know what they see, so they are only aware of how transport and logistics affects them when they catch a plane or train, or see a truck next to them on the road. But the diversity of the industry is amazing. It’s a smart industry with endless state, national and global opportunities for everyone’, says Ms Perram-Fisk.

While the transport and logistics industry still seems to struggle with its image as a ‘boys only’ club, the industry is eager to change this perception. Statistics for 2012, released by the Industry Skills Council, showed that 22 per cent of workers in transport and logistics were women. 

‘It can be hard changing people’s opinions, but the industry has been very responsive in restructuring roles to accommodate women’, says Perram-Fisk, who is an advocate for gender diversity in the workplace.

The average salary for Australian logistics, transport and supply workers is $75,893. But this figure can climb to $300,000, depending on the sub-sector and role.

So with a variety of career options, a surplus of jobs and a good salary package on offer, the sky is the limit.

Helen Isbister

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