It is all about forward momentum when it comes to salaries and pay raises for manufacturing management, according to the 2013 IndustryWeek Salary Survey. Or perhaps the better description is "upward momentum." 

As a whole, the average salary for manufacturing management increased over the past year, and raises were the rule rather than the exception. Such findings are in line with the responses IndustryWeek received from its 2012 inquiry into the earnings of its management-level subscribers but a stark contrast to the dismal results of 2010, when salaries were static at best, down for a significant percentage of managers and pay raises were hard to come by. 

See Also: 2013 IndustryWeek Salary Survey [SLIDESHOW]

The relative health of manufacturing in 2012 was surely a factor in the continued forward momentum of salaries. The manufacturing industry as a whole expanded in eight of the 12 months of 2012 and grew again in January and February 2013, according to the Institute for Supply Management. The overall economy grew for the 45th consecutive month in February.

Nevertheless, despite the gains in base pay, strong concerns remain among this group of manufacturers, most of whom are happy with their career choices and jobs. The talent crisis and lack of skilled workers have only increased as a worry since last year's survey, when they vied with the economy as the biggest challenge facing manufacturers. Remarked one survey respondent, a purchasing and procurement manager in the construction and building equipment industry: "We need to develop new talent. We have had three openings and cannot fill them with qualified candidates." 

Government regulation has also moved to the forefront of challenges for many IW subscribers. For example, "Governments -- local and state and federal -- do everything they can to get in the way of cost-effective business growth," said a corporate executive in the metals industry. "If you look at the fees and restrictions on manufacturing 30 years ago compared to now, you see what the most difficult challenges are."

With that as a backdrop, let's look at the numbers from the 2013 IW Salary Survey: Manufacturing managers earned an average salary of $103,613, up nearly 4% over last year's survey and marking the first time the average has breached the $100,000 level since 2008, when managers earned an average of $105,581. In last year's survey, the average was $99,643. The median salary in the current survey is $93,250, compared with $86,000 last year. 

Who received raises? Fully 67% of IW subscribers reported that their base pay grew over the previous year; for 11% the increase exceeded 5%. At the other extreme, 5% actually saw their base pay decline.

Additionally, nearly 60% of the managers reported earning a bonus. The average bonus among manufacturers who earned a discrete amount (versus variable pay) was $25,000. However, bonuses varied wildly, from less than $1,000 to several hundred thousand dollars.