Squeeze play

They manage different kinds of plants of different sizes with different levels of complexity. Yet plant managers share a common language and face common problems. In 2008, one problem emerged as a major concern. They used words like “crashing” and “sagging” and “crisis” to describe the general state of the manufacturing economy they face each day.

01/01/2009


They manage different kinds of plants of different sizes with different levels of complexity. Yet plant managers share a common language and face common problems. In 2008, one problem emerged as a major concern.

They used words like “crashing” and “sagging” and “crisis” to describe the general state of the manufacturing economy they face each day. There is little doubt the economic downturn has impacted manufacturing leaders. They face the recession and the staffing pressures that recession will bring. At the same time, they still don't have the skilled workforce they need to be prepared to grow their business on the other side of the recession.

The irony is that while plant managers faced more pressure and worried more about the economic future of their business, they also earned on average more money than ever before. The average salary for a plant manager, plant engineer or foreman topped the $100,000 mark for the first time. The 2008 Salary Survey found that the average salary, including bonuses and other non-salary payments, was $103,396, up almost 4%. The average bonus was $17,530, almost the same as in 2007 ($17,967).

Asked if they consider manufacturing a secure career, 63% said yes. They also remain happy with their work, with 74% describing themselves as satisfied with their career vs. just 8% who were dissatisfied.

The feeling of accomplishment is still cited by plant leaders as their biggest motivation. Two-thirds of respondents felt their own job was secure, and 61% said their employees' jobs were secure. That latter figure, however, was down from 70% a year ago.

The biggest issue the plant manager faces today remains unchanged, although new pressures in other areas ate away at the margin. Still, 31% of respondents said the lack of skilled workers was the biggest issue they face each day, and no other response got even half that total. Downsizing and its effect on productivity was cited by 15% of readers, with the economy and management issues each getting 11%.





Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2017 Top Plant.
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.
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
March 2018
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April 2018
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February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

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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