Increased Pay Spells Better Times for Manufacturing Workers

The average salary for manufacturing managers in the United States jumped 7.6 percent last year, according to data from a 2014 IndustryWeek salary survey.

The jump is impressive, especially in a year when the average inflation rate was just 1.5 percent.

U.S. manufacturing managers earned an average salary of $111,480, a figure that includes everyone from executive management (CEO, CFO, COO, GM, and president) to administration. At the top end, the average base pay for executive management was $172,156. Administration salaries, on the other hand, averaged $43,244.

In addition to differing by role, salaries varied across industries, with the highest earners in chemicals, followed by pharmaceuticals and health care; electronics, high-tech and telecom equipment; and aerospace and defense.

The lowest average salaries were in computer equipment, peripherals and software. Those managers earned $26,000 less than the next-lowest earners in consumer goods and durables; apparel and textiles; and food and beverage.

While the majority of respondents received salary raises and bonuses, 27 percent saw no change in their base pay, and 2 percent had to endure a salary decrease.

The survey also shows that higher education pays off. While high school graduates earned an average salary of $80,890, managers with a four-year college degree received $105,037 in base pay, and those with a master’s degree $133,257.

Published biennially until 2012 and annually thereafter, the IndustryWeek salary survey has shown three consecutive years of pay increases for manufacturing managers. Prior to last year’s pay hike, the average salary rose 4 percent in 2012 and 1.6 percent in 2011. These years were preceded by a 7 percent salary drop during the Great Recession.

The salary increases shown in the 2014 survey accompanied last year’s manufacturing expansion. The Institute for Supply Management forecasts continued growth in manufacturing for 2014.

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