Occupational Outlook: Industrial Supervisor

Occupational Outlook: Industrial Supervisor

Employment Projection:                    

Industrial supervision jobs offer the benefit of being remarkably consistent. They are projected to maintain a steady total level of positions in the next ten years (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). In particular, less than 1% change is expected, from the 170,600, which were available in 2016 (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).

Additionally, the expected salary has increased from $53,000 to $78,000 for entry-level positions. This change can be contrasted against the median wage for experienced workers, who make a median salary of $100,000 per year for a minimum of five years’ experience in addition to a related degree (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). However, the compensation level varies significantly by niche, or field of interest. For example, chemical manufacturing industrial managers earn well above the media. By contrast, managers working in fabrication or food production industry earn below the median salary.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) stated that “in May 2017, the median annual wages for industrial production managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows” in Figure 1 below. Further, the diagram reflects salary-based wages with approximately half of the industrial supervisors reporting that they work more than 40 hours a week.

Figure 2: Comparison of Salary by Niche


Impact of Market Factors

Three primary market factors impact the expected employment projection of industrial supervisors. The elements include (1) decrease in employment due to increase in productivity animation (2) robotics and automaticity and (3) reduction in job opportunities as a result of outsourcing and foreign industrialization (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).

Decrease in Employment Due to Increase in Productivity

Technology is allowing leaner productivity models and greater efficiency. As a result, fewer employees are needed. As further employees are required, fewer supervisors are needed to oversee them. As a result, employment of industrial production managers has been historically unaffected by productivity gains. However, this trend may no longer hold (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).  The National Bureau of Economic Research (2019) explains this phenomenon by stating that “stronger productivity growth has coincided with sharply declining manufacturing employment, leading some analysts to suggest that the rise in U.S. productivity growth may have destroyed jobs, as companies need fewer workers to produce the same amount of output.” (para. 1).

Increased Animation and Automaticity

As companies expand their dependency on robotics and automated structures, they have less need for employees such as supervisors. According to a 2017 McKinsey Global Institute report, automation could eliminate 73 million US positions by 2030 (Davidson, 2017). However, industrial supervision jobs will be less impacted by these losses than other positions such as production workers. Nonetheless, loss of employment opportunities or a failure to increase total posts should be expected. This trend results in the flat-line in the job output.

The decrease in Employment as a Result of Outsourcing/ Foreign Industrialization

Industrial jobs are at the risk of being continually outsourced according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018).  For example, over the last several decades, the manufacturing jobs have been lost to companies, which move their production facilities to India, Mexico, and other nations where labor is less expensive. However, the tendency to bring production jobs back to America has reduced the risk of job loss (Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018).






Davidson, P. (2017).  Automation could kill 73 million U.S. jobs by 2030. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/11/29/automation-could-kill-73-million-u-s-jobs-2030/899878001/

Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018).  Industrial Production Managers. The Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm#tab-6

National Bureau of Economic Research (2019). Productivity and growth of employment.  NBER.ORG. Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/digest/nov05/w11354.html

The University of Texas. (2017). What Is the Job Outlook for Industrial Technology Majors? Retrieved from https://degree.utpb.edu/articles/business/job-outlook-industrial-technology.aspx