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.

The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
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.
Pipe fabrication and IIoT; 2017 Product of the Year finalists
The future of electrical safety; Four keys to RPM success; Picking the right weld fume option
A new approach to the Skills Gap; Community colleges may hold the key for manufacturing; 2017 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Control room technology innovation; Practical approaches to corrosion protection; Pipeline regulator revises quality programs
The cloud, mobility, and remote operations; SCADA and contextual mobility; Custom UPS empowering a secure pipeline
Infrastructure for natural gas expansion; Artificial lift methods; Disruptive technology and fugitive gas emissions
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
VFDs improving motion control applications; Powering automation and IIoT wirelessly; Connecting the dots
Natural gas engines; New applications for fuel cells; Large engines become more efficient; Extending boiler life

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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