Takeaways from Modern Material Handling’s 2023 Salary Survey

Gearing up for 2024? Before we hit the ground running, let’s cast a critical eye back at 2023. Remember the Modern Material Handling’s annual salary survey? It released in November, and we can’t miss the insights it’s filled with.

Overall Job Satisfaction and Turn-Over

90% of material handling professionals surveyed by Modern Material Handling are happy with their career choice. This high level of satisfaction resonates across industries, as evidenced by The Conference Board‘s poll. It’s good to know that people who work with supply chains, logistics, and operations find their job valuable and fulfilling. This could be a good career choice for others.

Turnover Trends and Workforce Dynamics: While overall satisfaction remains high, turnover rates continue to climb. In the dynamic landscape of material handling, where talent fluctuations can significantly impact operations, turnover serves as a crucial indicator of industry health. The survey reveals a notable shift, with the overall turnover rate rising to 12% in 2023 from 9% in 2022.

Like other workforces, career mobility affects salary levels and can contribute to higher turnover rates. This suggests that a significant portion of professionals are actively or passively seeking new opportunities.

Experienced Hands Guiding Fresh Minds: A Look at Material Handling’s Workforce

Almost half (47%) of professionals have 10 to 30 years of experience in supply chains and logistics. 20% have 5-10 years of experience, while 17% have over 30 years of experience.

Nevertheless, this isn’t solely a playground for experienced hands. New blood is constantly injecting fresh perspectives, with 17% of respondents having less than five years of experience. This potent blend of seasoned know-how and youthful drive is the secret sauce for innovation and growth in material handling.

The 16.3 years of experience shows how dedicated and committed people are in this field for a long time. This career longevity translates into several advantages:

  • Deep Expertise: Decades of hands-on experience have forged a formidable understanding of the industry’s complexities. From mastering intricate equipment to streamlining workflows, these seasoned pros are the bedrock of efficient operations.
  • Mentorship Opportunities: With such a wealth of knowledge concentrated within the workforce, the potential for mentorship is unparalleled. Younger professionals can tap into the guidance and wisdom of veteran colleagues, propelling them further.
  • Industry Stability: The high retention rate speaks volumes about the job satisfaction and career fulfillment found within this field. This stability fosters a sense of community and a shared commitment to the industry’s continued success.

Of course, experience isn’t a one-way street. The potential for stagnation lurks on the other side of the coin. Continuous learning and adaptation are important to keep up with the industry’s fast-changing technology and demands.

Job Hopping: Does Change Equal Payday?

The 2023 Salary Survey delves into a fascinating question: can switching jobs boost your salary in the bustling world of material handling?

The High-Flying Flock: Turns out, the saying about greener pastures might hold some truth, at least when it comes to paychecks. The survey revealed that material handling professionals who’ve hopped across four different employers throughout their careers have the highest average salary – $125,450!

Climbing the Salary Ladder: Let’s dissect the numbers further:

  • One employer: $95,000
  • Two employers: $108,000
  • Three employers: $117,000
  • Four employers: $125,450

So, pack your bags and start applying? Hold on just a sec. The data indicates that frequent job changes are associated with higher salaries.

However, it is important to note that this does not imply that changing jobs directly leads to higher pay. Several other factors play a crucial role in determining your worth in the market:

  • Your Job and Expertise: Different positions within the industry come with their own pay scales. 
  • Experience and Skills: The more seasoned and skilled you are, the more valuable you become to potential employers. 
  • Education and Certifications: Advanced degrees and relevant certifications can put a nice shine on your resume, potentially boosting your earning potential.
  • Location and Cost of Living: Salaries can vary wildly depending on where you hang your hat. 

Turnover Rates in Materials Handling: A Cause for Concern?

The overall turnover rate has increased from 9.1% in 2022 to 11.8% in 2023. This is a significant jump of 2.7% that shouldn’t be ignored.

Departmental Diversity: But here’s the twist: the storm isn’t hitting all departments equally. While 40% enjoy relative calm with turnover under 10%, another 30% find themselves in choppy waters with rates between 10% and 30%. However, there’s a small but worrisome group – 4% of departments – facing waves exceeding 40%.

High turnover has a big impact on the industry. It can cause problems for the whole supply chain system. Departments with high turnover must handle more training, lower productivity, and increased stress on remaining team members.

Pressured to Perform: Stress in the Materials Handling Industry

In the 2023 Salary Survey, 83% of material handling professionals say their job conditions are very stressful. High stress levels are an immense worry for workers’ well-being, productivity, and industry success.

Potential Links and Contributing Factors:

Does changing jobs frequently result in higher salaries? Or are higher salaries simply a means of compensating for the increased stress in specific positions? This requires further investigation to fully understand the dynamics at play.

Several factors likely contribute to the high stress levels reported by material handling professionals:

  • Demanding work environment: Physically demanding tasks, tight deadlines, and constant pressure to maintain productivity can take a toll on both physical and mental well-being.
  • Long hours and uncertain schedules: Irregular schedules and extended work hours can disrupt sleep patterns and negatively impact work-life balance, leading to increased stress and fatigue.
  • Safety concerns: Operating heavy machinery and navigating potentially hazardous environments can be a constant source of anxiety for many workers.
  • Lack of support and resources: Feeling undervalued, unsupported, or lacking access to resources to manage stress can exacerbate existing pressures.

Building a More Supportive and Sustainable Workplace:

Addressing these concerns requires a proactive approach from both companies and individual professionals. Here are some recommended strategies:


  • Promote flexible work arrangements and schedule reliability: Offering options like part-time schedules, flex-time, and predictable shift rotations can improve work-life balance and reduce stress.
  • Implement stress management programs: Providing access to resources like employee assistance programs, mindfulness training, and stress management workshops can equip employees with tools to cope with pressure.
  • Foster a culture of open communication and support: Encouraging open communication, providing training on recognizing and addressing stress, and offering access to mental health resources can create a more supportive environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help.
  • Recognize and reward employee contributions: Feeling valued and appreciated can boost morale and reduce stress. Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions can go a long way towards fostering a more positive work experience.


  • Continue to hone skills and explore new areas: Taking proactive steps to develop skills and explore new areas within the industry can increase career satisfaction and open up opportunities for less stressful roles.
  • Strategically evaluate career opportunities: Assessing job offers with a focus on work-life balance, safety, and stress management support can help individuals make informed career decisions that prioritize their well-being.
  • Prioritize self-care and manage stress effectively: Developing healthy coping mechanisms and engaging in self-care practices can help individuals manage stress more effectively and maintain a sustainable work-life balance.


By understanding the factors contributing to high stress levels in the material handling industry and implementing comprehensive solutions, both companies and professionals can work together to create a more supportive and sustainable work environment. This will not only benefit employee well-being, but also ensure the continued success and vitality of the industry in the years to come.