Updating Results

Graduate salary and benefits in the transport and logistics sector

Allan Ruddy

Once you start moving stuff around full-time, will lots of cash start moving into your bank account?

Unsurprisingly, given the variety of grads and the scope of the industries involved, it’s difficult to generalise about the conditions on offer in the transport and logistics sectors. But the short summary is: you can expect to make decent money but you’ll be required to work hard for it.

What the survey says

According to research undertaken by GradAustralia, lots of finance, accounting, economics and business grads end up working in transport and logistics. As would be expected, so do plenty of people with engineering, maths, IT and computer sciences qualifications. Perhaps surprisingly, not a few people who’ve studied the humanities work in these industries, as do a handful of law grads.  

If you do land a grad role you will, on average, find yourself pulling a 40-50 hour week. You’ll probably start out your career with a title such as: management trainee; marketing co-ordinator; commercial/product/shift manager; category and supplier relationship/information/ commercial/financial systems/project analyst; operations/transport supervisor or plain old logistics and supply chain graduate.

Like most grads, you’ll be part of a small minority (four per cent) if you’re offered less than $45,000 a year. Unlike grads in many other industries, you could be earning anything from an average wage to six-figures from your first day on the job. Granted, most earn in the $45,000 - $55,000 (28 per cent of grads) or $55,000 - $65,000 (44 per cent) income bands. But eight per cent earn $65,000 and a not insubstantial 15 per cent of new hires earn more than $75,000.

Grads working in transport and logistics appear to be content with their career choice. The GradAustralia survey respondents collectively had a 4.3 out of five stars overall satisfaction rating. They were happy with their bosses, with a 4.0 rating for ‘relations with management’. The picture was a little – but only a little – less rosy for salary (3.7) and career prospects (3.4).  

Common benefits

Perhaps because they offer healthy pay packets, transport and logistics employers aren’t known for providing lavish benefits. The chances are you won’t constantly be eating out at fine restaurants or being showered with free tickets to major sporting events. Given the diversity of employers involved, it’s also hard to generalise. If you’re working for an airline company, you may get cheap overseas flights. If you’re working for a trucking company, you may have to be satisfied with an invite to the monthly on-site BBQ. That said, most grad employers in any industry will offer some or all of the following benefits.  

  • Study and other forms of leave. Yes, your employer will often continue to pay you even when you’re not engaged in any income-generating activity.
  • Social events. Chances are you’ll be invited to partake in teaming bonding experiences, usually at no cost to yourself.
  • Subsidised or free insurance. This can be health, income protection, TPI or all of the above.
  • Novated lease or company car. This is particularly the case if you need to travel as part of your job.

Many firms, especially the larger ones, also offer further benefits, such as

  • Health checks
  • Lunch allowance
  • Staff discounts on gyms membership, travel, computer hardware and software
  • The ability to purchase more annual leave – or ‘sell back’ unused leave
  • Carbon offsetting

Straight from the horses’ mouth

GradAustralia asked some grads working at the bigger transport and logistics firms what they thought about how they were looked after. Here, in summary, is what they had to say.

Linfox: You work hard – 12-hour night shifts aren’t uncommon. You’re also quite likely to be working in potentially dangerous environments. As a new grad you may be expected to manage older employees resistant to change.
On the plus side, you’ll be provided with plenty of training and every possible precaution will be taken to ensure your safety. You’ll be given ‘grown up’ roles that are critical to the business rather than being treated like the work-experience kid. The grad program is well structured providing lots of hands-on experience in different areas of logistics, as well as other business areas. The pay is good, there are plenty of career opportunities for those willing to seize them and the work is never boring.   

Swire: You get to undertake a variety of roles and gain wide experience. The people are excellent and the work is exciting, with diverse and interesting projects to work on. Also, you’re treated with respect and given lots of responsibility, along with endless opportunities to learn.
Depending on your life situation, the best or worst thing is the requirement to move cities and sometimes even countries. It allows you to have some fantastic experiences but does disrupt your personal life. If you hang around at the company, you can expect to be shifting location every 12-18 months in the early stages of your career. The offices are usually in industrial areas rather than the CBD, which can mean a long commute.

Qantas: You’re given a lot of responsibility from the start, which is both exciting and scary. There’s a good work/life balance and as an employee of an airline company you get amazingly cheap flights. You cycle through a range of roles and gain a wide range of experience. You are given a mentor and it’s a workplace where you’re encouraged to approach more experienced staff and ask them to explain things. But be prepared to be challenged every day.  

DHL: The grad program is designed to suit your individual skill set and broken up into blocks, allowing cross-functional business exposure. There’s a buddy program where grads get an ‘HR partner’ who helps them map their career journey. Plus, every grad has a mentor who is at GM or VP level. If you demonstrate you’re motivated and show some loyalty by hanging around for a reasonable length of time, there are plenty of opportunities once you’ve completed the grad program.