Supply Chain Excellence – Supply Chain Graduate

Hunter Campbell’s Supply Chain Excellence Series profiles roles within the Supply Chain job family including jobs in demand, salaries, and employment prospects.

In this article, the role of Supply Chain Graduate is in the spotlight.

Purpose of the Role  

The Supply Chain is the system of people, activities, resources and information involved in the creation or movement of a product or service from supplier to consumer. A Supply Chain works to ensure that a company’s production and supply is operating as efficiently as possible, whilst customer satisfaction is as high as it can be and production costs are as low as they can be. 

The focus of a career in operations is not only about moving commodities, as you get exposed to the strategy and planning aspect of a Supply Chain framework. You will find yourself working closely with internal and external stakeholders such as suppliers, IT, finance and quality. 

Supply Chain Graduate roles tend to be entry-level positions and typically speaking, the bigger the company, the more developed their graduate programme will be. Larger companies will often have graduate programmes where rotations through different departments is offered. These provide an expansive overview of the organisation as a whole. While you might have a strong set of skills in a particular area, with this rotation model, you will have the opportunity to adapt and learn new skills across different areas of the company. 

Smaller companies will provide support across the Supply Chain, primarily in relation to purchasing and logistics and may look to employ you in a Purchasing Officer or Logistics Coordinator role. 

Key roles and responsibilities within Supply Chain entry roles/graduate positions could include but will not be limited to: 

  • Updating and managing stock on hand, in the warehouse and on the ERP system/Excel 
  • Reviewing and maintaining min/max levels 
  • Producing stock reports 
  • Liaising and negotiating with suppliers 
  • Managing shipments from supplier to customer delivery 
  • Shipping documentation 
  • Processing customer orders 


Many New Zealand universities now offer specific degrees and courses in supply chain. In addition, graduates with qualifications in math, statistics, economics, commerce or operational science can often be offered positions in organisations as a Supply Chain Graduate.  

Key Skills Required 

Entry requirements vary between companies. It is desirable that those entering Supply Chain Graduate programmes have done some study in the Supply Chain space though it is not always essential. Some entry Supply Chain roles will not require a degree meanwhile others will, particularly those offering a Supply Chain Graduate programme. It is, however, essential that the graduate has a passion and understanding of the eco-system that is a Supply Chain. 

You will need to demonstrate capability in the following: 

  • Strong Excel skills: Pivot tables/v look ups 
  • Excellent presentation skills 
  • Strong analytical and data handling skills 
  • A high level of attention to detail 

Those already working often opt to study towards qualifications such as a Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from NZPICS. Gaining these qualifications demonstrates a commitment to higher learning that is highly regarded by many employers and will give candidates an additional edge.  

Career Prospects 

A Supply Chain consists of a wide range of duties and presents the opportunity to develop and progress a career that has variety and lots of moving parts no matter the industry. 

Post completing a graduate programme or entry Supply Chain role, individuals could look to progress their capability in one of the following Supply Chain pillars: 

  • Procurement (direct or indirect) 
  • Logistics 
  • Distribution 
  • Inventory/Production/Demand/Supply Planning 
  • Operations Management 
  • Supply Chain Management 

Recruitment Forecast 

Recent global supply chain disruptions have been the catalyst for more knowledge and awareness into the supply chain space. With this, we are seeing more businesses invest into their supply chain teams so that high levels of serviceability, optimization and cost-effective initiatives are in place. 

Salary Guide  

This information is anecdotal and based on roles Hunter Campbell is currently recruiting or has previously recruited and relate to base salaries. They do not include any additional bonuses or benefits. 

Entry Supply Chain role (no degree or workplace experience): $50,000 – $55,000. 

Supply Chain Graduate (with some form of qualification): $55,000 – $60,000.  

Supply Chain Graduate (with 1+ years of working industry experience): $65,000. 

Salaries of Supply Chain Entry/Graduate roles vary depending on the level of experience and the responsibilities within a role. A Supply Chain Graduate moving from a warehouse or administration-based role could expect a salary between $50,000 – $55,000. With a season or two under their belt they could expect to be on $55,000 – $65,000. Once they gain more experience and show promising signs of progression, they may take on further responsibility in their role, which would likely see them having more autonomy in decision making and moving to a salary between $65,000 – $75,000. When moving into the advanced side there is typically the opportunity to move into Team Lead/Leadership positions. 

These salaries will vary depending on the industry, company size and levels of responsibility. 

If you would like to find out more about the role of Supply Chain Graduate, please contact Senior Consultant Kat Biggelaar. Kat specialises in Supply Chain, Planning and Contracting. For more news and views, visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

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