Survey: Plant Managers Average $124,000


Survey: Plant Managers Average $124,000

Lubricant plant managers in the United States take home an average of $123,900 a year, but geography, company size and other variables can push the rewards much higher, according to an exclusive survey conducted in August by LubesnGreases magazine.

Ninety-three anonymous lubricant plant managers participated in the confidential survey, which is taken every two years by Lube Reports sister publication. As a group, they disclosed that their median compensation is $105,000 a year, meaning half of the respondents earn more than that, and half make less.

Forty-nine of the responses – a bit more than half – came from plant managers at U.S. lubricant manufacturing companies, where pay traditionally skews higher than at firms that simply distribute the products. The mean compensation for plant managers with manufacturers is $133,900; their median earnings are $120,000.

The remaining 44 respondents indicated that they work for lubricant distributors, and are compensated to the tune of $112,850 on average; their median is $96,500. Thats $20,000 a year less than their compatriots at lube manufacturing plants.

The typical plant manager who responded to the 2016 Salary Survey is a bit shy of his or her 52nd birthday, the data shows, and has spent just under eight years in their current job. These professionals have racked up an average of 22 years of relevant industry experience, with most spending 14 years with their present employer. Ten of the 93 respondents are women, and they closely match the men in these general outlines.

Survey participants who work for lubricant distributors said they manage an average staff of 24 individuals, while those at lubricant manufacturers oversee 20 full-time employees. The median numbers supervised, however, are a bit lower: 10 for those managing plants for lube manufacturers and 14 for those with lubricant distributors.

A key factor on payday is company size, the survey confirmed, and the results show compensation climbing in near-lockstep as an employer scales up its operations and workforce. For example, more than two-thirds of all plant managers in the survey work for lube businesses with 11 to 200 employees. These participants say they average from $106,700 to $128,700 in working for lubricant manufacturing companies, and only slightly less ($98,000 to $120,300) when employed by a distributor.

However, 10 percent of plant manager respondents work at the next tier of companies, with 201 to 500 employees, and these report making just under $160,000 a year on average. And when a companys total workforce shoots past 500, they appear to pay top dollar for plant managers. Eighteen percent of the respondents work for such massive businesses, and indicate an average of $173,000 a year in compensation.

By geographic region, the Central U.S. states are most strongly represented in the 2016 survey, accounting for 51 of the 93 usable responses. The Eastern states contributed 32 of the replies, while the rest hailed from West of the Rockies. This breakdown roughly approximates the lubricants industry, which is clustered along the countrys center, from Detroit and Chicago down to the U.S. Gulf, and also has strongholds in industrialized, populous Eastern states.

The top-earning region for lube plant managers, with an average of more than $136,000 a year, is the U.S. Southwest. Those hailing from the Southeast are neck-and-neck, averaging $135,600 a head, and the Northeast is a close third with almost $131,900. By contrast, respondents from South Central states report making an average $125,000 a year, which is a notch above those from the North Central region with $114,900.

As in prior surveys, the Northwestern states again trailed all others in rewarding their lube plant managers, at just below the $100,000 mark.

The survey also shows that 65 percent of all participating plant managers received a raise during the past 12 months. However, sorting the responses by company type shows that raises are not meted out with the same generosity at all employers. Almost 78 percent of those working for lubricant manufacturers said they got a raise — but only half of those at lube distributors.

The prospects of getting a bonus this year look positive for two-thirds of all respondents, including 69 percent of those at lube manufacturers and 59 percent of those with distributors.

The parceling out of other forms of remuneration is more lopsided, however. Eight percent of this years participants from lube manufacturing firms said they expect to earn some form of company stock ownership, which none of those at lube distributors said theyll get.

Conversely, almost 14 percent of the distributor plant managers said theyll pocket a commission this year — more than triple the rate at which lube manufacturing plant managers earn commissions.

Photo: Monkey Business/Fotolia

How does the bottom-line compare with what LubesnGreases found two years ago in its 2014 survey? Because a different pool of participants respond to each biennial questionnaire, no direct comparison should be made. If the figures go up, it does not prove that compensation has started climbing; it just means that this years participants as a group make more than 2014s group.

That said, 2016s group are a rung above the 2014 cohort. Plant managers with lube manufacturers in 2014 made an average of $123,900, and with distributors $92,560, that years survey heard. This years participants are about $10,000 higher.

The insights above are among many featured in the October issue of LubesnGreases. In November and December, the monthly magazine will highlight two more key management positions: Sales/Marketing, and Lab/Technical.

The complete 2016 Salary Survey report will then be available for purchase and immediate download on the website, starting Dec. 1.

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