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Which Job in the Manufacturing Industry Pays the Most?

June 23, 2022

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According to a recent National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) survey, the manufacturing industry employs about 12.77 million laborers. This includes jobs like quality control, power plant operators, machinists, assemblers and fabricators, and semiconductor processors. Data USA reports that the average income earned by manufacturing workers (including pay and benefits) is $64,861.

The following are some of the highest-paying jobs in the manufacturing industry. However, it is important to note that the salaries will vary depending on one’s specialty niche, level of experience and state where they are employed.  

Laser operator 

As the title suggests, a laser operator is a professional tasked with the responsibility of handling laser machines that cut plastic, metal or other industrial materials. Due to the hazardous nature of lasers, the operators are required to adhere to strict protocols and safety guidelines when handling machinery. 

Human resources manager 

HR managers oversee the budget development, business planning and daily operations of the human resource department. Responsibilities include planning and managing employee relations, training, benefits, compensation and recruitment. 

Electromechanical technician

An electromechanical technician handles the installation, upgrading and repair of automated machinery in industries. They are experts in the functionalities and features of machines like forklifts, lathes, grinding machines, milling machines, lasers, gear shapers and drilling machines. 

Computer numerical control (CNC) machinist

This job involves working with CNC machinery to create tools, parts and other components using raw materials. CNC machinists specialize in equipment like turning machines, water jet cutters, multi-spindle machines and milling machines. They use advanced technology to program the equipment and make adjustments to machinery.

Plant manager 

A plant manager oversees all operations at a factory, plant or any other industrial company. They inspect and maintain facilities, supervise all staff operations and ensure products and services are delivered to clients. Generally, the main goal of plant managers is to enforce company policies by ensuring that all employees follow the right procedure. 

Process engineer

This is a professional tasked with designing biochemical and chemical manufacturing systems. Process engineers usually work in the pharmaceutical, agricultural, mineral processing, and food and beverage industries. Using their design skills, these engineers can transform raw materials like natural gas or oil into final commodities. 

Other high-paying manufacturing jobs include program manager, manufacturing engineer, director of operations, IT manager and operations manager.

Wondering how much to pay your manufacturing workers? Check out Spectra360’s free salary guide that covers the following sectors:

  • Manufacturing and production
  • Warehousing and distribution 
  • Transportation and logistics 
  • Office and administration

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