Holding steady—The 2014 Annual Survey of the Canadian Supply Chain Professional

We’ve once again surveyed the supply chain field to find out how much you’re making, how you feel about your jobs and what challenges you face.

November 4, 2014
Michael Power


From the October 2014 print edition—enhanced version

Brought to you in partnership with HSBC and SCMA

While remaining higher than the overall Canadian average, the mean salary for the Canadian supply chain professional dropped in 2014. Supply chain professionals earned an average of $86,987; that’s down just slightly from $87,908 in 2013. In terms of percentage, that difference remained slight at just a one-percent drop.

That’s according to the results of the 2014 Annual Survey of the Canadian Supply Chain Professional, conducted on behalf of the industry’s three leading magazines—PurchasingB2B, MM&D and Canadian Shipper—and the Supply Chain Management Association of Canada (SCMA). This year, 1,509 people across the country responded to the survey. The statistics are considered accurate +/-2.1 percent, 19 times out of 20.

As in past years, the survey asked about factors such as type of position, sex, age, job satisfaction, education and geographic location. In addition to broader topics, each year the survey emphasizes a particular issue, with this year’s focus on the public sector.PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.indd

The survey also provides a breakout of responses from readers of each magazine. The mean salary in 2014 of PurchasingB2B readers was $80,164, before taxes and other deductions but excluding bonuses and other incentives—that’s an 8.1-percent difference compared to the overall average. But the amount jumps to $84,679 when bonuses are included.

However, despite the overall drop, the average gross base salary (before taxes and other deductions) went up from $82,800 in 2013 to $83,524 this year. But when bonuses and incentives are added, the average comes in at $86,967 as compared to last year’s $87,908.

And while the average reported salary dropped, the percentage of those who say there are more jobs in supply chain compared to five years ago remains the same as 2013 at 65 percent. while 11 percent say fewer jobs as compared to five years ago.

The majority of respondents also noted that they had seen an increase in their pay. Overall, 65 percent reported getting an increase to their base salary this year, as opposed to just three percent who had seen a decrease. Another 31 percent answered that their base salary remained the same. If PurchasingB2B readers are isolated, 56 percent saw a salary increase while six percent saw a decrease. Meanwhile, 36 percent of our readers saw their salary stay the same.

Among those who got an increase, 32 percent had received two percent or less, while 40 percent had received an increase of between 2.1 and four percent. Another 11 percent had gotten a raise of between 4.1 and six percent while seven percent saw an increase of between 6.1 and 10 percent. The remaining nine percent saw an increase of 10.1 percent or greater. The majority of respondents remained hopeful of future raises, with 67 percent saying they expected a salary increase next year and 33 percent anticipating no such increase.

PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.inddThe typical respondent is 45.2 years old and works an average of 44 hours per week (down slightly from 44.3 hours per week in 2013). A total of 58 percent of respondents are male—and 39 percent female—with an average of 16.8 years of supply chain experience. Overall, 95 percent of respondents work full-time in supply chain. On average, that experience includes 8.7 years at their present company and 5.8 years at their current job. A total of 33 percent have a university degree as the highest level of education. They personally have an estimated average sourcing volume of $25.3 million, while their department’s supply chain budget is $135 million.

Overall, 80 percent of respondents have procurement responsibilities other than for transportation while $25.3 million is the mean amount of annual sourcing volume personally placed by respondents with those procurement responsibilities. The annual sourcing volume placed by their department is $63.9 million, while the average supply chain budget of their department is $135 million. As well, 50 percent said their organization’s total revenue was over $100 million.

Your average PurchasingB2B respondent works 43.7 hours per week and has 18.5 years’ experience in the field, 10.5 years at their present company and seven years in their current job. They supervise 3.6 people, and 89 percent of them have procurement responsibilities outside of transportation (with nine percent saying that they did not). The estimated average personal sourcing volume is $21.4 million and their departments’ supply chain budget is $123 million.


Similar to surveys of past years, the type of position supply chain professionals hold affects salary levels. Executives earn the highest salaries in the field, with the average pay at $141,813. Next were consultants, who earned $102,461 followed by managerial staff, who earned $99,462. Supervisors pulled down $85,690 and those in engineering/professional positions made an average of $83,434. The “other” category saw an average salary of $82,322, while operations/tactical earned an average of $70,261.

Men and Women

Male supply chain professionals report higher overall salaries than female, with men earning $92,276 as compared to $78,819 for women. That difference remains as supply chain professionals gain experience. Men with over 31 years of experience earned $107,542 as compared to women at $96,225. As well, men with between 16 and 20 years of experience pulled down $93,771 while women earned $82,620. Men with five years or less experience earned $68,508 and women earned $60,647.PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.indd

That story has been similar in past years, for example with men with 31 or more years of experience earning $110,181 in 2013 and women with the same experience getting $92,515. Men with 16 to 20 years of experience that same year took home $93,238 and women respondents’ average salary at $82,866.

However, when men’s and women’s salaries are compared between 2013 and 2014, men saw their average earnings drop from $94,492 to $92,276. Women, on the other hand, saw salaries increase from $77,842 last year to $78,819 in 2014.

Regional differences

Supply chain professionals in Alberta earned the highest salaries of any region in the country, although that amount dropped slightly in 2014. Those in that province earned $98,109—as compared to $103,049 in 2013—for a 4.7-percent decrease. The next highest amount went to Ontario at $85,612, up just slightly from $85,254, while British Columbia saw a slight drop from $85,831 to $85,542. Quebec supply chain professionals earned an average of $80,580 ($80,493 in 2013) while the combined provinces of Manitoba/Saskatchewan earned $80,266 as compared to $81,519 in 2013. Atlantic Canada professionals, who earned $74,220 last year, saw a 2.6-percent drop in 2014 to $72,279.PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.indd


While the natural resources industry saw a drop in average salaries this year to $101,023 from $105,979 in 2013 (a 4.6-percent change) that sector remains the highest paid in the country. Next is the service industry at $87,109 (up 2.6-percent from $84,777 last year). Those in the manufacturing industry also saw a dip from $82,222 last year to $80,810 in 2014, while healthcare professionals took home an average of $83,991 (up slightly from last year’s $83,404). The education sector saw a 4.3-percent jump in salaries to $80,493 from $77,113. Meanwhile, trade/wholesale supply chain professionals earned $81,209 and government employees took home $82,341—up from $80,225 in 2013.

Having the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation meant higher salaries among respondents, although that amount fell compared to last year. Those with the designation took home $95,781 in 2014 compared to $98,924 in 2013—a difference of 3.2 percent. Those working on the certification earned $76,856 this year, up from $71,795 in 2013 (a seven-percent increase), and those without the SCMP saw a drop in salary in 2014 to $82,698 from $84,782.

Government challenges

As mentioned, this year we focused a section of the survey on the supply chain professional’s relationship to government. When asked which external groups have the biggest impact on their role, 67 percent said suppliers, while 60 percent said customers. Government and regulatory agencies came in third with 44 percent of respondents noting that that’s where the biggest impact came from. Twenty-one percent said that shareholders and investors had the largest impact, while industry and professional associations—as well as the local community—each had 12 percent of respondents saying those groups had the largest impact.

PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.inddIn terms of which level of government most impacted respondents’ roles, 39 percent answered federal while 38 answered provincial/territorial. Local/municipal accounted for 16 percent of respondents.

Respondents were asked what areas of government regulation take up most of their time. A total of 35 percent said customs and security, while 33 percent said government procurement rules. Employee health and safety accounted for 23 percent, and international supply chain accounted for 19 percent. Overall, 16 percent noted competition was the area of government regulation that took up most of their time while taxation was 12 percent. Business regulation and reporting requirements and sustainability both accounted for 12 percent of respondents.

Respondents’ answers were similar when asked in what areas they experienced the most growth in regulatory burden in the past five years: customs and security was the largest for 27 percent of respondents, while 26 percent said government procurement rules. Employee health and safety was 21 percent while international supply chain was the largest area of growth for 16 percent. Sustainability and competition both represented the largest regulatory growth for 13 percent; meanwhile taxation, business regulation and reporting requirements—as well as privacy—each took that spot with nine percent.

Once again, our survey looked at job satisfaction among supply chain professionals, asking respondents how fulfilled they were with various aspects of their employment. Compensation has remained largely unchanged for the past four years in terms of its importance. Once again this year, 72 percent of respondents said salary was “very important,” with 98 percent overall answering that it was important. 26 percent said that it was “somewhat important” while only two percent said it was “not at all important”. Meanwhile, 72 percent overall said they were “satisfied” with their salary and 18 percent said they were “very satisfied.” A total of 53 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied” while 21 percent noted they were “not very satisfied.” Meanwhile, seven percent said they were “not at all satisfied.”

A healthy work/life balance remained a priority for most supply chain professionals, with 97 percent noting it was “important” and 71 percent saying it was “very important.” A total of 25 percent called it “somewhat important,” while three percent said it was “not very important.” Overall, 83 percent said they were “satisfied” with their work/life balance with 34 percent answering “very satisfied.” Forty-nine percent called themselves “somewhat satisfied” while 14 percent said they were “not very satisfied.” Only three percent called themselves “not at all satisfied.”

When asked about opportunities for advancement, 86 percent said that it was “important” while 49 percent called it “very important.” As well, 37 percent noted that they thought opportunities for advancement were “somewhat important” and 11 percent said they were “not very important.” A further two percent noted they were “not at all important.” A total of 60 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with those advancement opportunities—with 15 percent saying they were “very satisfied.” The answer “somewhat satisfied” accounted for 45 percent of respondents, while 29 percent said they were “not very satisfied.” As well, 11 percent noted they were “not at all satisfied.”

When taken as the big picture, satisfaction rates remained high this year. A total of 88 percent said they were satisfied with their with their job overall, while 30 percent noted they were “very satisfied.” Fifty-nine percent said they were “somewhat satisfied” with their jobs and 10 percent answered that they were “not very satisfied.” Only two percent said they were “not at all satisfied.” What’s more, 42 percent of respondents noted that they had influence at their company’s C-level, and 73 percent said their companies realize the importance of the supply chain function.

With PurchasingB2B readers isolated, 32 percent said they were “very satisfied” with their jobs overall, while 60 percent said they were “somewhat satisfied.” Seven percent said they were “not very satisfied,” while two percent said they were “not at all satisfied.” For our readers, 43 percent noted that they had influence at their company’s C-level, and 74 percent said their companies realize the importance of the supply chain function.PBB07_10-15_SupplyChain.indd

The survey also asked about the skills supply chain professionals needed to be successful. Respondents ranked “people skills” as the top skill at 27 percent and “strategic leadership” next at 15 percent. Another 13 percent noted “decision making” as the top skill, with another 11 percent answering “negotiation skills.”

Pursuing education was also important to respondents, with 72 percent saying that they felt they needed further education or professional development to get ahead. According to 37 percent of respondents, a professional designation was necessary to advance in their careers. Thirty-nine percent said that “industry specific training” was needed to progress, while 30 percent felt an MBA was necessary.

When asked about the SCMA accreditation program leading to the SCMA designation, 18 percent said that they were enrolled in it (26 percent for SCMA members) while 19 percent planned to enroll (26 percent for SCMA members). A total of 81 percent didn’t plan to enroll (74 percent for SCMA members) and 39 percent overall already had the designation (52 percent for SCMA members). Overall, 72 percent said they planned to register for further education in the next 12 months.


Despite the salary dip, many responses remained consistent compared to last year. The supply chain professional continues to earn significantly more than the average Canadian salary, and levels of job satisfaction also remain high.

To see where you stack up, visit our online salary calculator.

Brought to you by our survey partners:

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.

Basic CMYK

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.