5 in-demand manufacturing jobs (and what they pay).

  • finding jobs
  • August 03, 2018

With unemployment around 3.4 percent in manufacturing and 3.3 percent in logistics, there's a ton of opportunity out there for professionals in these industries. But what, exactly, are the most in-demand manufacturing and logistics jobs on the market today? And what are the going hourly rates for them? To find out, we pulled data on wages for workers with around five years of experience from six key markets:

  • Atlanta, Georgia 
  • Jacksonville, Florida 
  • Charlotte, North Carolina 
  • Memphis, Tennessee 
  • Sacramento, California 
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 

Read on. The answers may surprise you.

quality control tester, hourly range: $29.02–$35.20

Quality control testers drive more action in manufacturing and logistics environments than you might expect. Their work touches on compliance and ensures that quality standards — and marketing claims — are lived up to.

As the high hourly wage range indicates, the quality control tester is an important role at most manufacturing and logistics companies today. It's also a highly skilled position — and with around 75 percent of manufacturers complaining of a moderate to severe shortage of skilled workers, that means there's sure to be opportunities aplenty.

Find quality control tester positions here.

quality inspector, hourly range: $20.35–$24.17

Increased productivity at reduced cost with zero injuries and world-class quality — in manufacturing and logistics, that's the holy grail. And that's where quality inspectors come in. By developing and monitoring the essential controls that ensure the quality of the products in manufacturing and logistics environments, quality inspectors play a huge role in determining the success of the business.

Interested in pursuing this in-demand job? Consider getting trained to attain Certified Quality Inspector (CQI) status — there are plenty of good reasons to do so. Besides just bolstering your bona fides, certifications are a great way to stand out from the competition.

Find quality inspector positions here.

machine operator, hourly range: $18.29–$22.05

Machine operators are increasingly expected to be able to use sophisticated technology as part of their everyday duties. That's a challenge — but also an opportunity. Particularly with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) poised to take off, savvy machine operators who shift and adapt to stay current with technology will see fatter paychecks.

Find machine operator positions here.

forklift operator, hourly range: $16.02–$19.01

Did you know that forklifts have been used in commercial applications for at least 100 years? It's true. And operators of this essential material-handling tool are going to be highly in demand going forward, too, with wages that reflect the risks involved as well as the certification and training required for the role.

Find forklift operator positions here.

production laborer, hourly range: $13.49–$15.78

There were widespread labor productivity declines in the manufacturing sector in 2017, with many companies increasing their investment in new technologies as a result. Another consequence: while experienced production laborers remain very much in demand, they often must adapt in their daily routine to work alongside new technologies.

So, if you're comfortable working with technology, that'll be a big plus on your resume. At the end of the day, robots can’t solve problems the same way humans can.

Find production laborer positions here.

show me the money

Even if you're not based in one of the markets mentioned above, these numbers are a good way to roughly think about benchmarks for compensation in your industry — and get a handle on where you stack up. Plus, if your current salary isn't on par, maybe it's time to consider looking for a new job?

And if you want an even more in-depth guide to salaries in manufacturing and logistics, Randstad has you covered: Our complete 2018 salary guide for manufacturing and logistics professionals includes a city-by-city and position-by-position analysis. Make the most of your manufacturing career, and download it for free today