The IndustryWeek 2007 Salary Survey was conducted over the Internet via e-mailed invitations to subscribers. The survey took place in January 2007. A total of 1,394 people responded to the survey, and of that number, 1,113 completed the entire survey. Respondents were not compensated but were offered the chance to provide candid comments regarding their salaries, occupations and employers. All responses were anonymous.
Is a job in manufacturing management the greatest job in the world, or is it a black hole that sucks the life out of you faster than you can say, "Made in China"? Do the good days outnumber the bad days? And what is it exactly that keeps manufacturing managers motivated to continuously improve themselves, their staffs and their companies despite a constant drumbeat telling them that "manufacturing is dead"?
We set out to learn the answers to those questions in IndustryWeek's 2007 Salary Survey. This year, nearly 1,400 readers weighed in (anonymously) with their candid opinions of their personal work experiences and manufacturing industry in general, and provided us with a deep data pool that not only indicates how much you're earning, but who you are, where you are, how long you've been doing your job, and even why you do what you do.
Our goal, then, isn't merely to note the size of your paychecks. As Patricia K. Zingheim and Jay R. Schuster, authors of High-Performance Pay (WorldAtWork Press, 2007), observe, "The role of pay and other rewards is to help create a true high-performance organization -- one where the workforce is fully engaged in acquiring and applying critical skills and competencies to produce results and add value to the business for which they share responsibility." So we hope, through this annual feature, to tell the story of manufacturing through the eyes of those who know it best: you.
So, who are "you," anyway? Nothing about manufacturing managers is average, of course, but when we crunched the numbers, we discovered that the "average manufacturing manager" is male, between 50 and 59 years old, has worked in the manufacturing industry for more than 26 years, lives in the North Central region of the United States (i.e., the Midwest), has been with his current company for six to 10 years, has a graduate degree, works for a manufacturer of industrial products or machinery, and earns $106,588.
"Companies within the manufacturing industry need to look inside their own four walls to make sure that they are doing everything they possibly can to produce their product as fast and accurately as possible with the least amount of overhead before blaming the market, or the increase in foreign competition." -- lean manager with a metals manufacturer, with 6-10 years of experience, living in the North Central region and earning $40,000
"The instability of all manufacturing jobs in the U.S. combined with the tremendous amount of work, time, effort, worry, etc. required to meet ever-present challenges, and the constant pressure to reduce costs (including wage/salary costs) make me wonder why anyone would want to work in a manufacturing environment any more!" -- production manager with an industrial machinery manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the Middle Atlantic and earning $90,000
"Manufacturing is in dire straits in this country due to corporate management greed, governmental inaction for a manufacturing policy, governmental overregulation, and the general don't care attitude of the American citizen toward what actually builds wealth in this country." -- safety manager with a furniture manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $57,600
"I have found manufacturing (specifically manufacturing engineering) to be a very challenging and rewarding experience. Even with the long hours and intensity of the manufacturing environment, I consider my job more of a hobby than a job." -- engineering manager with an electrical products manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the South Atlantic and earning $102,000
The Nature Of The Job
We tend to speak collectively of "manufacturing" as if it's a single, cohesive industry, but of course there are almost as many different job titles in a manufacturing company as there are types of products that need to be made. Manufacturing managers are expected to be well versed in the latest productivity improvement methodologies, information technology deployments, customer and supplier relationships, international markets, financial management, labor relationships, inventory turns, supply chain management . . . and, oh yes, the actual products their companies make, too.
No sector of manufacturing is currently under more pressure, or subject to more scrutiny, than the petroleum industry, and based on the results of our Salary Survey, the level of compensation is significantly higher ($159,667) than in any other sector.
At the opposite end of the pay scale, perhaps reflecting how much of the work is being offshored to low-cost countries, are computer equipment manufacturers ($92,071) and apparel makers ($86,790).
Location also plays a role in how much you can expect to earn, although when you factor in the cost of living in the various parts of the country, the differences in average salaries are minimal. The highest average salaries are paid in the Middle Atlantic region ($124,650), which includes the most expensive place to live in the country -- New York. The lowest average salaries, conversely, are in the South Atlantic region ($96,842). The South Atlantic, not surprisingly, also happens to be where a lot of manufacturing jobs are moving.
"Manufacturing in the U.S. is on the downturn but the salaries paid in this job field are good. The manufacturing of folding cartons in the U.S. is very competitive with the professional challenges of changing the workforce to lean manufacturing." -- finishing manager with a pulp and paper manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the South Atlantic and earning $67,000
"My base salary is 5% less than it was six years ago. My total compensation is 25% less than it was six years ago. I have not had a base salary raise in over six years. I make decent money, but have been going downhill financially ever since my Fortune 500 company sold my mill to a financial buyer. I would strongly recommend against any young person going into the paper industry or majoring in pulp and paper as I did." -- technical service manager with a pulp and paper manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $99,200
"We manufacture high energy clutches and brakes for a wide range of industry. All markets are up as of 2005 and holding. Our local job market is tight and lack of skilled labor is a major concern. We are trying to tackle that by improving training internally and outside." -- general manager with an automotive supplier, with 26+ years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $65,000
"A manufacturing, sourcing or 'supply chain management' career path is sometimes undervalued by those who still think of it as being only associated with what goes on within the four walls of a manufacturing facility. Those who succeed by pursuing the more expanded supply chain and logistics opportunities are engaged in key transformation strategies and activities that drive major financial and business performance across the enterprise. -- vice president of supply chain with an industrial machinery manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $450,000
"The union has priced and handcuffed many corporations out of business. My facility is non-union, but many of the other union facilities within our corporation have all but closed due to the ridiculously high overhead and wage costs associated with union-run facilities. This thinking has triggered our upper management into outsourcing our work to cheaper lower cost countries with no consideration of facilitating more non-union facilities here in the U.S." -- manufacturing/production manager with an aerospace & defense manufacturer, with 20-25 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $86,000
The School Of Hard Knocks
Manufacturing managers are very well educated, with 79% having at least a four-year bachelor's degree; in fact, 33% have a graduate degree. And not surprisingly, the more education you have, the higher your salary. Managers with at least a bachelor's degree have an average salary of $100,616, topping out at an average of $122,983 for those with graduate degrees.
Even more indicative of how much you're likely to make, though, is something that's completely out of your control: your age. The older you are, the more you tend to make. By far the largest percentage of manufacturing managers who responded to the survey are part of their company's corporate or executive management (and in some cases are the owners of their companies). Similarly, 39% of all respondents have spent at least 26 years in manufacturing. Clearly, experience + age + education = top-tier manufacturing salaries.
One question high on the "things to worry about" list for manufacturing managers, though, is: Where will the next generation of manufacturing talent come from? Many managers rose through the ranks to reach their current white-collar positions, but with the skilled labor shortage threatening in some areas to reach epidemic status and the average age of managers between 50 and 59 years, it's difficult to project what ramifications this shortage could have on the entire industry.
"A college education can be important, but there should be two ways to the top: highly educated or highly experienced. I believe the most effective organizations are those that have a mix of individuals directing the company that includes both highly educated people (theoretical business applications) and those with a practical education (grew up on the shop floor) and know what takes place in the real, everyday world of manufacturing. Many companies today have few people in executive positions that have that practical experience." -- plant/facilities manager with a paper manufacturer, with a two-year degree and 16-20 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $90,000
"Finding it difficult to locate young, dedicated electrical engineers and electronic technicians. Seems like only people with these skills are over 50 years. What happens 10-15 years from now?" -- corporate/executive manager with an electronics/ high-tech manufacturer, with a graduate degree and 11-15 years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $114,400
"It appears the older your age with a long-term status as an employee, you become less recognized as a important contributor. Most companies want to push you aside for much younger people at lower salaries. They look for the 'book smart' individuals who can impress upper management with extreme PowerPoint presentations." -- sales manager with an automotive manufacturer, with a two-year degree and 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $79,500
"Undergraduate degree in Finance/Accounting and coming up through the ranks into operations has served my career extremely well. Today's manufacturing executive must be a global strategist and be able to think ahead of the curve. Practical and successful experience in creating world-class lean environments is a must today to survive." -- vice president of manufacturing/production with a manufacturer of lab equipment, with a graduate degree and 26+ years of experience, living in the Middle Atlantic and earning $165,000
The Gender Gap
The disparity between what men and women are earning in manufacturing is, frankly, embarrassing. Men are earning an average of $111,286, while women earn $72,116, a disparity of 35% and nearly $40,000.
The gap can be partly explained by several facts: Male manufacturing managers, on the average, have more experience and education than their female counterparts. Certainly the number of men owning their companies or occupying C-level titles dwarfs the number of women in similar positions. And there's no getting around the fact that for all job titles in manufacturing, the industry is dominated by men (88% vs. 12%).
But none of that addresses the basic problem: Given all the above, would you encourage your daughter to seek a job in manufacturing?
"I have seen this business remain a 'man's world' job with no possibility to be considered a purchasing manager, rather than a basic secretary. This is because I am a FEMALE. Therefore, I am still paid a secretary salary and not a purchasing manager salary. This upsets me very much, but in a small town there's not much I can do about it." -- female purchasing manager with a wood products manufacturer, with 16-20 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $35,100
"I face the same glass ceiling my grandmother faced. We are still in the dark ages regarding women in career fields." -- female network technician with a plastics/rubber manufacturer, with 6-10 years of experience, living in the Pacific region and earning $43,000
"I feel women as a whole still have to earn the respect of their male counterparts more so than the males do. It is the mushroom syndrome in the information pipeline. Treated as 'on a need to know basis,' which can influence a female's ability to succeed. Manufacturing is a challenge and teaches you endurance and patience." -- female purchasing manager of an industrial machinery manufacturer, with 16-20 years of experience, living in the South Central and earning $33,000
Manufacturing In The Cross Hairs
Let's face it: Manufacturing companies are under the gun from all quarters, and those entrusted with managing the industry that historically made the United States the world's No. 1 superpower are today frequently targeted as the source of society's problems. Performing in such a climate could wear down even the hardiest of manufacturing proponents.
And yet, despite all of the problems U.S. manufacturers confront, 79% of you said you are either "very satisfied" (38%) or "satisfied" (41%) with your choice of manufacturing as a career path. Maybe it's the very nature of those problems that drive manufacturing managers, that spirit of beating back all challengers and winning out in the marketplace. Whatever the case, only 7% said you were "unsatisfied" (6%) or "very unsatisfied" (1%) with the manufacturing profession.
That doesn't necessarily mean you all love your jobs. The percentage of respondents who said they were unhappy with their current jobs was larger than those unhappy with manufacturing; 9% were "unsatisfied" and 3% were "very unsatisfied" with their present situations. However, on the bright side, nearly three-quarters (74%) of you are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with your jobs.
In the final analysis, the manufacturing industry in the U.S. will only be as good as its people, and based on the comments we've included here, as well as roughly a thousand more posted here, there is an abundance of good people working to solve those challenges. And that's good news for all of us.
"The exciting thing about manufacturing is being able to add value to a product that in turn provides value to society. In an era where we see money managers and CEO salaries that are out of sync with the value they provide I believe manufacturing is one area that as a society we have undervalued. Hopefully we'll see this turn around and manufacturing will be looked at as a profession that adds value and is rewarded appropriately for the value it provides." -- project manager of an industrial machinery manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $100,000
"The forces of overseas competition are painting a gloomy picture for U.S.-based companies (mine included). Future success will be predicated on intellectual prowess in the global arena. Personally very satisfied with work, responsibility and pay." -- corporate/executive manager of an electronics/high-tech manufacturer, with 6-10 years of experience, living in the Middle Atlantic and earning $200,000
"Industry in America is slow to change, much like the auto industry is finding out today. World-class production assembly facilities are much more suited to compete than the traditional big box manufacturing facilities of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Industry had over a decade to transition, re-educate workforces and position themselves to compete in a global market. Most chose to reap the heydays of the '80s and now find themselves behind the curve and paying through the nose." -- plant manager with a pulp and paper manufacturer, with 26+ years of experience, living in the North Central and earning $79,500
Selected Salary Data
|Region||% Of Response||Salary|
|New England (CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT)||5%||$113,025|
|Middle Atlantic (NJ, NY, PA)||12%||$124,650|
|South Atlantic (DC, DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)||13%||$96,842|
|North Central (IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MN, MO, ND, NE, OH, SD, WI)||40%||$104,062|
|South Central (AL, AR, KY, LA, MS, OK, TN, TX)||18%||$101,036|
|Mountain (AZ, CO, ID, MT, NM, NV, UT, WY)||3%||$107,936|
|Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)||9%||$114,987|
Average Salary By Industry
|Petroleum & Coal||$159,667|
|Medical Devices/Lab Equipment||$132,189|
|Plastics & Rubber Products||$112,176|
|Aerospace & Defense||$100,691|
|Food & Beverage||$96,660|
|Computer Equipment & Peripherals||$92,071|
Average Salary By Job Responsibility
|Position (% Of Response)||Salary|
|Corporate/Executive Management (CEO, COO, CFO, President, GM, etc.) (23%)||$151,458|
|VP, Manufacturing/Production (3%)||$144,979|
|VP, Operations (3%)||$148,132|
|VP, Purchasing/Procurement/Sourcing (1%)||$113,685|
|VP, Supply Chain (1%)||$189,917|
|Director, Manufacturing/Production (2%)||$119,708|
|Director, Purchasing/Procurement/Sourcing (2%)||$97,779|
|Manufacturing/Production Management (10%)||$84,013|
|Engineering Management (8%)||$90,582|
|Purchasing/Procurement/Sourcing Management (7%)||$60,004|
|Plant/Facilities Management (6%)||$107,024|
|Supply Chain/Logistics Management (5%)||$94,187|
|Operations Management (4%)||$99,333|
|Sales/Marketing Management (4%)||$85,453|
|Quality Management (4%)||$87,070|
|Human Resources Management (3%)||$71,589|
|R&D/Product Development Management (2%)||$99,634|
|Financial Management/Controller (2%)||$86,942|
|Safety Management (1%)||$67,511|
|Lean/Continuous Improvement Management (1%)||$81,846|
|Other (IT, Maintenance, Training, etc.) (5%)||$88,826|
Average Salary By Education Level
|Highest Level Attained (% Of Response)||Salary|
|High School (4%)||$77,766|
|Some College (11%)||$89,522|
|2-Yr Degree (6%)||$83,177|
|4-Yr Bachelors Degree (33%)||$100,616|
|Some Graduate Study (13%)||$114,461|
|Graduate Degree (33%)||$122,983|
Average Salary By Company Size
|Annual Corporate Revenues (% Of Response)||Salary|
|Less Than $25 Million (23%)||$95,325|
|$25-50 Million (13%)||$111,380|
|$50-100 Million (12%)||$98,462|
|$100-500 Million (18%)||$123,381|
|$500 Million-$1 Billion (8%)||$101,612|
|$1 Billion-$20 Billion (22%)||$105,449|
|More Than $20 Billion (4%)||$119,446|
Average Salary By Gender
|Gender (% Of Response)||Salary|
Average Salary By Age
|Age (% Of Response)||Salary|
Average Salary By Manufacturing Experience
|Years In Manufacturing (% Of Response)||Salary|
Average Salary By Seniority
|Years With Current Company (% Of Response)||Salary|
Average Salary By Staff Size
|Number Of Employees Managed (% Of Response)||Salary|
|More Than 100 (9%)||$125,706|
What Matters Most To You About Your Job?
|% Of Response|
|Recognition Of Your Importance To Company||17%|
|Career Advancement Opportunities||15%|
|Company's Recognition Of The Importance Of Manufacturing Operations||7%|
|Relationships With Co-Workers||5%|
How Satisfied Are You With Your Current Job?
|% Of Response|
|Neither Satisfied Nor Unsatisfied||14%|
How Satisfied Are You With Manufacturing As A Career Path?
|% Of Response|
|Neither Satisfied Nor Unsatisfied||14%|