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February 1, 2002

6 Min Read
Injection molding salary survey

By almost all accounts, 2001 was a year most molding professionals would like to forget. Sept. 11 aside, the worst economic setback in a decade forced many shops to shut down, while others scaled backed dramatically in hopes of weathering the storm. Continuing pressure from Mexico and Asia initiated a sobering self-analysis of the U.S. injection molding industry that leaves many wondering how this community will evolve in the next five to 10 years. 

It was against this backdrop that IMM launched its first salary survey of injection molding professionals. While we didn't know what to expect, the results are encouraging, and in some cases, pleasantly surprising. 

The survey was conducted by Readex, a research firm based in Stillwater, MN. From September to October, Readex mailed approximately 1300 surveys to readers on the IMM subscription list. A total of 553 usable surveys were returned, for a 43 percent response rate; the results have a margin of error of ±4.5 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The charts on this and the following pages paint a picture of what the survey revealed, but there are other trends worth exploring that the data don't reveal. 

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A Profile of the Molding Professional 
Based on this survey, a typical respondent is a male who works at either a custom or captive molding facility, is 44 years of age, graduated or at least attended college, works 49.1 hours per week, and earned $70,600 in 2001. He has been in the industry for 18 years and with the same company for eight years. The percentage increase of his last raise was 5.7 percent. 

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Salary and Total Compensation 
Because the survey polled individuals with a fairly wide range of job responsibilities (machine setup to plant management), salaries also varied widely. However, they were distributed in fairly equal proportions. On the low end, 5 percent of respondents reported a salary of less than $40,000. At the high end, 4 percent had a salary of $125,000 or more. Of the 79 percent of respondents who reported having received a raise from their employer, the average was 5.7 percent. Those located in the West reported a slighter higher raise (7.8 percent). In addition to salary, 71 percent of respondents received other benefits, including bonuses (50 percent), profit sharing (28 percent), education reimbursement (14 percent), stock options (13 percent), and incentive pay/commissions (6 percent). The estimated value of these benefits varies widely but averages about $3000. 

Not surprisingly, 93 percent of respondents reported that their employers offer health insurance, although this number drops to 84 percent for firms with sales volumes of less than $10 million. Benefits beyond health drop off fairly quickly. Dental coverage is offered to 76 percent of respondents, life insurance to 74 percent, disability to 63 percent, and vision to 44 percent. 

As one might expect, given the large quantity of molding facilities and professionals in the Midwest, salaries in this region, on average, were lowest, at $67,500. Leading the pack is the South at $74,900, followed by the West at $72,500, and the Northeast at $70,700. 

Hard work also appears to pay off. Respondents who work 50 or more hours a week have salaries that average $76,600, $6000 more than the average for the survey, and $11,400 more than employees who work 45 to 49 hours a week. Employees who log less than 45 hours a week reported an average salary of $61,900. 

Finally, regarding performance reviews, more than 70 percent of respondents said that they receive one annually. Some 19 percent reported no regular review schedule. The largest influencing variable here seems to be the size of the company. Ninety-two percent of employees in organizations of 1000 or more workers say they get an annual review; only 51 percent of employees in companies of less than 100 workers receive an annual review. 

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Job Satisfaction 
Overall, putting compensation aside, molding professionals reported fairly robust satisfaction with their jobs. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating the highest satisfaction, survey respondents averaged 4.0. Employees of small firms (less than 100 employees, less than $10 million) indicated a satisfaction of 4.3. And employees of moldmaking or mold design companies registered, on average, a job satisfaction of 4.3. 

Employees with more than 15 years of service at their organization also registered a 4.3 satisfaction rating. Similarly, employees in corporate management reported a 4.5 job satisfaction rating. And those who work more than 50 hours a week also came in relatively high with a 4.1 satisfaction rating. 

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So, who's least satisfied? Certainly very few respondents reported great or even moderate dissatisfaction with their jobs, but a pattern emerges for those molding professionals who are not as satisfied as most. Respondents who were less than 35 years old, employees of large firms (more than 1000 employees, more than $100 million), who supervise no other employees, or were involved with product design, production process management, production process engineering, machine setup, or marketing/sales reported a job satisfaction of 3.8 or less. Still, no one variable or category measured in the survey indicated a job satisfaction of less than 3.7. 

Another measure of job satisfaction, job-seeking status, also indicates that most molding professionals are happy where they are and are not looking for other opportunities. Almost 70 percent of respondents said they are not considering a new job at this time. Compare this to the 24 percent who said they're not looking for a job, but considering a new-job search, and the 6 percent who are actively looking for a job. As the job satisfaction data showed, those most likely looking for a job were relatively young, working in large organizations, or involved in sales, machine setup/maintenance, or process engineering. It's also interesting to note that employees with marketing/sales responsibilities are among the hardest working, putting in, on average, 51.7 hours a week.

Editor's note: Click here to download a PDF version of a salary approximation worksheet. Use it to help estimate a salary based on data from this survey. 

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