“Clearly, the rise of academic programs focused on
supply management has had a favorable effect on
earnings,” says Tom Martin, Director of ISM Learning
Solutions. “Millennials — those who most often enter
the profession with a formal supply management
education — are being fast-tracked into positions
managing prominent spend categories and are being
compensated proportionately early in their careers.”
In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported salary growth among professionals overall.
Correspondingly, ISM’s Salary Survey reports have
found similar growth in the supply management
profession since the 2014 report, which covered
2013 salary information. The reported average salary
was $101,608 for 2013, compared to the $115,440
reported for 2016. Likewise, the number of Salary
Survey millennial respondents has more than doubled
since 2014, while that of Generation X grew by 58
percent and baby boomers by 21 percent.
ISM Research broke down information collected
from the 2014 through 2017 Salary Survey reports
by generation. The generations are baby boomers
(born between 1946-64), Generation X (1965-79) and
In the 2014 through 2017 editions of the Salary
Survey, respondents were asked to indicate and rank
14 factors commonly considered when evaluating
employment opportunities. For this question, a
ranking of “ 1” was highest and “ 14” was lowest. In
this year’s Salary Survey, wage (average rank of 3.0)
was the most important consideration, followed by
job satisfaction ( 4. 4).
The next five factors, by average rank, were prospect
of improved work/life balance ( 5. 1), benefits package
— medical/dental/vision ( 5. 5), pension, retirement
plan/401(K) or similar plan ( 5. 9), organizational
culture/work environment ( 6. 5) and financial stability
of the organization ( 6. 6). Least important factors
were organizational commitment to sustainability/
social responsibility programs ( 13. 2), educational
opportunities ( 11. 4) and health and wellness
programs ( 12. 2).
When looking across years and by generation, the
results are similar to those in this year’s report. The
most important consideration was wages paid,
with an average rank of 2. 9 across baby boomers,
Generation Xers and millennials. In 2017, the next
four considerations for employment by millennials, outside of
wages paid, are prospect of improved work/life balance ( 4. 4), job
satisfaction ( 4. 5), advancement opportunities ( 5. 5) and benefits
package — medical/dental/vision ( 6. 6). The next four considerations
for employment by Generation Xers are job satisfaction ( 4. 4), work/
life balance ( 4. 9), benefits package — medical/dental/vision ( 5. 6), and
pension, retirement plan/401(K) or similar plan ( 6. 3). The next four
considerations for baby boomers in 2017 are job satisfaction ( 4. 3),
benefits package — medical/dental/vision ( 4. 9), pension, retirement
plan/401(K) or similar plan ( 5. 2), and work-life balance ( 6.0).
In 2014 through 2016, the first and second considerations for
employment across years and generations are wage ( 2. 9) and
job satisfaction ( 3. 9).
The third-highest consideration by millennials and Generation Xers
for employment in 2014 through 2016 is work/life balance ( 4. 4).
Baby boomers differed from the other generations, ranking benefits
package — medical/dental/vision ( 4. 4) as the third-most important
consideration for employment. The fourth and fifth considerations
varied considerably between year and generation.
Each year, the Salary Survey asked respondents to identify the
spend categories they are responsible for. In 2014 through 2017,
baby boomers indicated that they were primarily responsible for
capital equipment (a year-over-year average of 45 percent), whereas
Generation X and millennials indicated that they were primarily
responsible for manufacturing components/materials (a year-over-year average of 44.4 percent for both generations) over the same
Baby boomer respondents in 2016 indicated that their second primary
category of spend shifted from manufacturing components/materials
to office equipment/supplies. A less-distinct shift can be seen for
Generation Xers and millennial respondents for 2014 through 2016.
The results indicate that capital equipment — which is considered
high risk due to its impact on organizational revenue — would be
entrusted to those with more tenure. However, Generation Xers and
millennials are being fast-tracked to assume these responsibilities,
as they are being put in charge of fast-paced, revenue-generating
manufacturing components and materials.
GENERATIONS AND SALARIES IN 2017
In the 2017 Salary Survey, managers reported earning $109,401,
directors $153,347, and vice presidents $135,757, on average.
Responding chiefs or heads of supply management earned $259,340,
a 7 percent increase compared to 2015 ($241,902). Professionals
classified as emerging (practitioners with eight or fewer years of
experience in the profession) reported earning an average salary of
$83,678. Those indicating that they are experienced professionals (nine
or more years of experience) earned $78,937 on average, a surprising
result when compared to emerging professionals, as longer tenure
usually relates to a higher rate of pay.