What You’ll Get Paid in a Lean Job

A job in lean or continuous improvement management pays, on average, $81,846.

            That is one of the findings in the annual manufacturing salary survey headlining the current edition of Industry Week magazine.

            The findings are based on anonymous replies from 1,400 readers of the magazine. In breaking down the numbers to show average salary by job responsibility, the story notes that the lean management category represented only one percent of the respondents.

            So what does that lean salary figure mean? By itself, it serves as an indicator of what you might make in a dedicated lean position.

            However, you learn more when you compare it to other positions. Doing so can give you a sense of where lean managers rank in the manufacturing hierarchy as well as what your other career options might pay.

            For example, the lean figure is greater than the average salary for jobs in safety management ($67,511) and human resources management ($71,589). But it’s less than you’ll make, on average, if you work in manufacturing/production management ($84,013), engineering management ($90,582) or operations management ($99,333).

            Moving up the organization chart, the Industry Week list doesn’t include any categories of directors or vice presidents of lean. (Are there any?) However, directors of manufacturing/production make, on average, $119,708 while vice presidents of manufacturing/production rake in an average $144,979. A VP of operations is paid, on average, $148,132. It’s also true that, nowadays, many companies want people in those director/VP jobs who have lean experience.

            Averages, of course, do not necessarily reflect what you’ll get paid in any specific situation, which may depend on the industry, the size of the company, the location and other factors. The Industry Week article includes a list of average salary by industry, with 18 industries listed. The top industry, petroleum and coal, pays an average salary of $159,667, nearly double the figure of $86,790 for the bottom-ranked industry, apparel and textiles.

            Is the lean principle of respect for people reflected in what you get paid? Does your company place a high value on lean skills and experience? Tell us about your experience.



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