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Dr Anthony Pang King-wah believes that the future of the logistics industry is bright.
Globally, The logistics industry has been growing rapidly over the past decade. In Hong Kong, logistics is a thriving career field, offering some of the most in-demand jobs today.
“Over 90 per cent of our graduates get a job within three months after graduation, and some even receive job offers before graduation,” says Dr Anthony Pang King-wah, who leads the BBA (Hons) in Global Supply Chain Management (GSCM) programme at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) as associate professor and associate head at the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies.
As logistics managment becomes increasingly significant in any organisation as it grows, supply chain jobs are plentiful and varied.
“No matter what industry you are in, even the banking sector, logistics professionals are needed to handle the supply chains, whose job includes the monitoring of supply of raw materials, manufacturing and distribution,” says Dr Pang.
“You can just type in the ‘supply chain’ in a job search site, and over 100 jobs available in Hong Kong at different levels will appear.”
Globalisation coupled with the Internet propelled the development of international trade and consequently the demand for logistics professionals.
“Before that manufacturers would only buy raw materials from nearby regions, but with the Internet, people can source materials from all over the world. They need professionals to manage a more complex logistics process, from sourcing, storage to dispatchment,” says Dr Pang.
The rise of online shopping platforms such as Amazon and Taobao that boost business globally is another force at play.
“Products are now delivered to an immense number of customers, instead of a limited number of shops. Also, online customers demand quick and reliable delivery of their purchases. This requires effective management of a supply chain,” Dr Pang says.
The global trend means employers are increasingly seeking highly-skilled graduates with a specific degree in logistics and supply chain management to fill a variety of roles.
PolyU is the only university in Hong Kong that offers a publicly funded bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. During the first two years of the programme, students will study the fundamentals of business management. In the third and fourth year, students will take specialist modules to develop their knowledge on how to manage a global supply chain. The subjects include procurement and purchasing management, operations management, warehousing management, and international operations management.
“These specialised subjects will teach students about logistics, international regulations, currencies, as well as hedging strategies to eliminate foreign exchange risks,” says Dr Pang, adding that the programme provides adequate internship opportunities to equip every student with practical experience in the industry.
Their graduates enjoy diverse career pathways in different areas, including procurement, demand and supply planning, warehouse management, distribution planning and customer service.
Dr Pang says that many of their graduates choose to become management trainees in logistics firms and large retailers. “Their career path is clear. They usually start as a supervisor, and get promoted to a senior supervisor and then assistant manager. It takes an average of 6 years to reach a managerial position,” Dr Pang says.
The logistics industry is poised for growth, and a robust hiring outlook awaits logistics graduates. “The job market for the logistics sector is growing each year, and it will remain strong in 2018 and beyond,” he says.
Having taught in the department for over a decade, Dr Pang is happy to see his former students enjoy a bright career that takes them to different parts of the world. A student who graduated in 2010 became the Director of Operations at Kerry Logistics who oversees its Middle Eastern business.
“Their salary is even higher than mine,” he says with a laugh. “I’m so happy to see that they are performing so well in their career. This demonstrates that young people who choose our programme have the ability to become high-flyers.”