ISM® Salary Survey Reveals Wage Growth Amid High Demand for Supply Management Talent

July 30, 2021

Institute for Supply Management® Reports Average Compensation Exceeds US$124,000.

TEMPE, Ariz. (July 30, 2021) – The sixteenth annual Institute for Supply Management® Salary Survey revealed a promising outlook for supply management practitioners, despite a 2020 marred by layoffs, furloughs and limited bonus pay. The average overall compensation in the supply management profession was up for a seventh consecutive year.

Conducted between May 12 and 30, 2021, the survey highlights that average wage growth for supply management practitioners continued a trajectory, with average overall 2020 compensation reaching US$124,021, a 0.6 percent increase compared to 2019 (US$123,226). However, because of the pandemic, this increase in the average salary was smaller compared to the change that was seen in the previous year (+3.3%).

“The supply management team was the unsung hero of the pandemic. Supply management practitioners — who beforehand were overlooked — sourced personal protective equipment (PPE), kept facilities open and factories running, and made sure that supplies arrived, despite lead times doubling and massive producer-price inflation. Supply management kept businesses running and allowed them to serve customers,” said ISM CEO Thomas Derry. “And what we’re seeing right now is the recognition of how critical that talent is to a company.”

Additional key findings include:

  • Gender pay gap widens: While COVID-19 has dominated supply management employment dynamics in the last year, a nagging, long-term demographic trend continued to stand out. In 2020, the gap in average compensation between male ($133,076) and female ($107,333) supply management professionals was 24 percent, more than the 22.3-percent difference in 2019.
  • Certification edge: Respondents with a Certified Professional in Supply Management® (CPSM®) designation earned an average of $125,314, and those with Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity® (CPSD™) status earned $124,386, exceeding a non-credentialed practitioner.
  • Competitive job market: The coronavirus pandemic has emphasized the value of supply chains — as well as procurement practitioners that keep products moving through them — creating a “war for supply management talent.” Employers note they are eager to fill positions in this candidate-driven market. For candidates considering potential jobs, three of the top five factors in ranking are compensation-related, but workplace culture, organizational financial stability, and a new entry — remote work options/support — were in the top 10.
  • Industry earning power: Supply management practitioners in arts, entertainment and recreation saw the highest average salaries--more than $162,000--followed by finance and insurance (about $147,000) and professional, scientific and technical services (about $137,000).

Among 17 factors ranked when evaluating job opportunities, wages were the most important consideration, followed by job satisfaction, work/life balance, health-care benefits package, and pension, 401(k) or other retirement plans, respectively. The least important factors were company’s actions addressing COVID-19 in the workplace, and organizational commitment to sustainability/social responsibility programs.

ISM’s 2021 Salary Survey included 2,074 supply management professionals, segmenting results according to respondents’ years of experience, titles, industry sectors, degrees, fields of study, certification, geography, benefits and more. A random sample of ISM members and nonmembers, with a substantial proportion of non-ISM affiliated practitioners, were surveyed. Respondents were asked to report compensation information for the 2020 calendar year. Compensation included (reported separately) wages, bonuses and stock options received before taxes and deductions.

Supply management executives and practitioners can read a more in-depth summary of the findings, and download the full survey report, which is complimentary to ISM members. For more information, please visit