A light at the end of the tunnel

Just as people are not numbers, numbers are not people. Perhaps in no year since we’ve been doing the PLANT ENGINEERING Salary Survey has that been more apparent. The 2009 version of the Salary Survey was focused not just on how last year affected their wallets, but also on how last year affected their workplaces.


Just as people are not numbers, numbers are not people. Perhaps in no year since we’ve been doing the PLANT ENGINEERING Salary Survey has that been more apparent. The 2009 version of the Salary Survey was focused not just on how last year affected their wallets, but also on how last year affected their workplaces.

It was, by every measure, a challenging, frustrating year for manufacturing. The changes in the economy, in business and in the world were things that could not be affected by doing better maintenance or using energy more efficiently %%MDASSML%% things we try to write about and things within the control of our readers. And for a plant manager to feel he has no control over his operation is the most frustrating feeling of all.

Yet in spite of all of that, we found optimism in the distance as 2010 approached. Two of every three survey respondents said their job was secure, that their workers’ jobs were secure, and that there was still much to be proud of in the work they do each day. Even as overall compensation declined slightly, of that decline was attributable to a drop in bonus compensation.

They decried the loss of jobs, but also the loss of productivity those job losses have caused. They have increased concerns over how Washington is responding to their needs. They still see a lack of skilled workers as one of the most difficult issues they face.

But of the things they can control each day, they believe they are able to meet the next set of challenges. And they believe that if the recession is not over, it soon will be, and they can return to a productive, stable manufacturing environment.

Perhaps it was a sense that the new year could not possibly be worse than the one they were leaving. Even just that cynical piece of optimism would be enough for some.

But there is a genuine sense out there that 2010 will be better %%MDASSML%% not just by comparison, but on its own merits.

Review all of the Salary Survey data.

Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

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Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
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