Wahhooo! We're Making More Money — Just Not Enough to Fight Off Inflation

Over on Supply Excellence, Tim Minahan recently did a good job summarizing ISM's latest salary information. Tim notes that the "average salary for a supply management professional climbed 4.3% last year, continuing its upward climb. In addition, about two-thirds of supply managers also received bonuses in 2007. The not-so-good news: the increase is only slightly ahead of the rise in inflation we've seen here in the U.S. over the past year." The average salary according to the study reached $88,380 in 2007. But what separates out average performers from those at the top of the salary curve? Experience, education, industry, credentials, category diversity and experience, and size of company all play a role, according to the analysis. But one of the largest factors in "working for corporate." Citing a Purchasing study, Tim notes that "supply managers working at corporate boast 44% higher salaries, on average, than their counterparts working in the plants."

What's missing from this analysis -- and perhaps the one factor that I would add -- is the importance of rigorous analytical skills sets. Anecdotally, I can say that those who come from a top tier undergraduate or graduate program -- either related to procurement or not -- and spend the time to develop their analytical capabilities at either a consultancy or a top notch procurement organization, stand to make significantly more. As an example, I recently spoke to an old friend in his early thirties who just took a CPO role at a company (he previously spent just under ten years in sourcing and operations consulting following taking a Dartmouth undergraduate degree in liberal arts).

In fact, I'd wager that in large part, its those folks who would not have entered the profession in the first place under the purchasing/buying model of old who are those who are driving up the salary averages -- not just the rising skill sets or newfound credentials of those who have been in the profession for decades. What do you think?

- Jason Busch

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