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An introduction to jobs in the transport & logistics industry

GradAustralia

Advice for graduates planning a career in the transport & logistics industry – job prospects, how to get started and average graduate salaries.

Overview of the transport and logistics industry

The transport and logistics industry is concerned with moving things as efficiently as possible from A to B. However, as you will see below, this is no straightforward process, even when it comes to the transportation of regular items. The Australian transport and logistics industry currently employs some 1.2 million people and accounts for about 10 per cent of GDP.

What’s involved?

Common careers in the transport and logistics sector include data analyst, consultant, supply chain manager, procurement officer, and logistics manager. The sector also contains roles related to information technology, business management, engineering, and statistics.

Together, these professionals work for various types of business, including freight companies, which manage the transportation required to shift goods around; distribution companies, which help businesses move their goods from the site of manufacture to the marketplace; and supply chain and logistics companies, which take a holistic view of the process whereby products are connected with consumers, and look for ways to make it more efficient, profitable and manageable.

Specialty areas in this sector include distribution logistics, which focuses on getting goods to customers; disposal logistics, which deals with the transportation of waste; and, increasingly, digital logistics, which aims to improve efficiency using computer software and automation. The transportation and logistics sector is particularly important in Australia, which, isolated as it is from key international markets, must maintain efficient domestic supply chains if it is to compete on a global scale.

Where do people in the transport and logistics industry work?

The transport and logistics industry is geographically dispersed in a way that reflects the often immense distances between Australian importers, manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers, businesses, and consumers. Road freight accounts for around 75% of the goods transported inside Australia, with logistics companies relying on a network of road and rail routes that link various warehouses. Given the globalised nature of many supply chains, this is a sector in which many employees can expect to travel regularly and work unusual hours (especially when liaising with stakeholders in different time zones). Some of the largest employers in this sector include Toll Holdings, Linfox Australia, Australia Post, Swire, and DHL Supply Chain.

Entering the transport and logistics sector Employers in the transport and logistics sector tend not to select graduates from any particular discipline (the exception would be for graduates who have completed one of the relatively uncommon ‘Bachelor of Supply Management/Logistics’ degrees). Some of the larger companies, such as DHL and Linfox, have dedicated graduate programs. Linfox, for example, offers a ‘24-month development program that involves a comprehensive induction and six-month rotations at various Linfox sites across Australia and New Zealand.’ Many other roles in the transport and logistics sector can be pursued via a direct application.

Job prospects in the transport and logistics industry

The size of the Australian transport and logistics industry is set to triple by 2050, especially as more and more regional centres become connected to our urban capitals. The way the industry works is also changing as new technologies (like drones) and foreign retailers with superior supply chain expertise force Australian businesses to be more competitive and creative.

If I have a STEM background, how can I take advantage of my skills?

Many of the generic skills developed during a STEM degree are invaluable in the transport and logistics sector. These include creative thinking, the ability to manage complex processes, and a high degree of attention to detail. Transport and logistics companies also employ engineers, data analysts, and programmers for a range of purposes.

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