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Plant Manager Job Description, Career as a Plant Manager, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school diploma

Average Salary $81,000 per year

Job Outlook Fair

Basic Job Description

Plant managers are responsible for managing and overseeing the plant employees and observing departments to make sure they are running smoothly and efficiently. They are responsible for coordinating operations within the plan to make sure work is being done effectively, creating goals for plant production, properly training staff and keeping them motivated, keeping in touch with shipping and receiving departments, conducting performance reviews and meetings, positively representing the company at corporate meetings, and making sure the plant is a safe and clean environment for workers. They are also responsible with the overall morale of plant workers and will need to keep in constant communication with them to make sure jobs are getting done right and communication is strong and professional amongst workers.

Education and Training Requirements

Required education for a plant manager is typically a high school diploma or equivalent. Basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills are helpful and usually required for someone who is managing and supervising people as well as operating machinery.

Most plant managers start off as a general plant worker and work their way up through various departments before landing a manager position. Most plant operators have a manager work briefly in each department to understand how the department works and how it is connected with others. From there, plant owners and operators will often put manager trainees through some sort of training course before allowing them to manage the plant.

Getting the Job

Plant managers need to have previous experience working in a plant, particularly the plant they will be managing, and understand all the operations and departments as well as how they work and connect to one another. The manager will need to be someone who is professional and authoritative, yet someone employees feel they can talk to and confide in if they have issues with work performance or other employees.

To manage an entire plant, the right candidate will understand how to work every piece of machinery in the plant to make sure they are operating efficiently and are not a safety hazard to the workers. They will often go through several training courses to become licensed to operate specific machines and be authorized to manage a worker who uses it.

A plant manager will often prove they are worth the position by excelling at the position they are hired in for and showing their professionalism, hard work and communication skills. If manager opportunities come up, the ideal candidate for the position will apply for the job and speak with other managers or plant owners about how they would like to take on the position and be reviewed or observed and considered for the position.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Plant managers usually get where they are through seniority and good work ethic. Some managers start off managing one specific department, and gradually take on the responsibility of more and more departments before they are promoted as the main supervisor in charge of the plant or factory as a whole.

As long as factories and plants are running, there will be a need for plant managers and supervisors. However, factory and manufacturing jobs have been slowly declining over the past several years, so the opportunity for manager positions to open up has been decreasing. The industry for which a factory works in affects whether or not the industry will die, stay steady or increase. Some plants provide job security to their employees through Union benefits and allowing them to become a Union worker.

Working Conditions and Environment

Plant managers typically work all across the floor in a factory. They usually have an office area where they do paperwork and host meetings or interviews, but spend the majority of their time observing workers, training new employees and making sure any machinery is working properly. They will also make themselves available at all times in case any employees need assistance.

Plant managers also have to keep a professional relationship with all employees. They may want to treat them as friends, but this type of relationship can conflict with the fact that many plant managers are also responsible for hiring and firing employees as well as writing up accident reports and taking proper action when an employee is written up or violates their contract.

Plant managers typically work a 40 hour workweek, but it is not unusual for the manager to work after hours to do paperwork, inspect work areas and make sure everything was done properly. If there is a midnight shift that works, the manager may have to occasionally work during their shift if the night manager took time off.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for someone who is entirely in charge of a plant is about $81,000 per year. The salary varies according to the industry the plant is involved with and the number of years the manager has been in charge of the plant. The more a plant manager proves to the company’s corporate headquarters that they are a benefit to the company and keeping the plant running smoothly, the more potential they have to make a significantly large salary over time.

Most plant managers also have a full health insurance plan including medical, dental and vision. They also receive significant vacation time and sick leave. Most plant managers receive an excellent salary and benefits package in return for the hard work and many duties they hold as their responsibility.

Where to Go for More Information

National School Plant Management Association
20500 SE 8th Street
Harrah, OK 73045

Association for Operations Management
8430 West Bryn Mawr Avenue, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60631
(800) 444-2742

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesManufacturing & Production