Survey Gauges Plant Manager Pay Rates

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Plant managers who work for U.S. lubricant manufacturing companies are paid an average $94,775 a year, and their counterparts at lube distributors $70,359, according to the latest Lubricants Industry Salary Survey conducted by Lubes’n’Greases magazine.

The typical plant manager who responded to the survey is 47 years old, and has 19 years of industry experience. He or she has been with the current employer a little more than 13 years, and supervises an average of around 22 people, the magazine will report in its October issue. Women, at only 7 percent of the respondents, are still a minority.

Plant managers who answered the 2004 survey say they work for a diverse range of companies. Forty percent are with firms staffed by 50 or fewer employees, while nearly one quarter toil at large enterprises employing more than 500. One-third of the respondents are with lubricant distributors, two-thirds work for lube manufacturers.

Thats all quite similar to what respondents to its 2002 Survey told the industry trade magazine. So what did change?

First, the latest survey suggests that distributor plant managers may be gaining on their manufacturing counterparts, who traditionally have been far better paid. Generally, lube distributors operations are less complicated than lube manufacturing, one company executive told Lubes’n’Greases. Distribution is more a throughput operation, transferring product. Manufacturing is more demanding, more processes and engineering, and probably requires supervising more people and skills.

Nevertheless, plant managers who work for lube distributors reported average annual compensation of $70,359 in 2004. In 2002, they reported an average of $62,254, lagging far behind their compatriots who managed plants for lube manufacturers. Median compensation at lube distributors was a reported $66,500 this time. It was $60,000 in 2002 and $52,000 in 2000.

By contrast, the respondents working for lube manufacturing companies reported an average $94,775 in compensation this year, versus $97,132 in 2002. Median compensation for these respondents was unchanged, however, at $85,000 in both 2004 and 2002; in 2000, it was $70,000.

Lubes’n’Greases 2004 Lubricants Industry Salary Survey looks at how compensation varies by type and size of company, geographic region, length of time in the job, and number of people supervised.

Some highlights from the latest compensation datafor lubricant plant managers, to be released in the magazines October issue, follow.

The highest-paid respondent reported an annual compensation of $180,000, and worked for a lubricant manufacturer. The highest compensation reported by a plant manager for a lubricant distributor was $130,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the lowest compensation reported was $26,400 per year at a lubricant distributor. The low at a lubricant manufacturer was $33,000.

Size of the pay packet definitely goes up with the size of the workforce managed. The highest median salaries – $101,000 for lube manufacturing plant manager, $90,000 for lube distribution plant managers – went to those who supervise more than 12 people. Median compensation dropped to $76,000 and $48,000, respectively, for those supervising five or fewer people.

Seventy-two percent of lube manufacturing plant managers said theyd received a raise in the last 12 months, versus 55 percent of lube distributor plant managers. That’s about the same rate as in 2002.

More plant managers at lube distributors-79 percent – responded that they expect to receive a bonus this year. One in five expects a commission, and 35 percent expect some form of profit sharing.

At lube manufacturing plants, 65 percent of managers said they expect a bonus this year, and only 4 percent expect commission. And 30 percent expect to get profit sharing.

This is the fourth time Lubes’n’Greases has directly surveyed key lubricants industry employees about their compensation. More than 400 individuals responded to the 2004 survey, including 86 who identified themselves as plant and operations managers at lube manufacturers or distributors. Information was gathered directly from individuals who work for lubricant manufacturers and distributors, and was compiled and analyzed by an independent statistical firm.

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