SME, Arconic Foundation Release 2018 Manufacturing Compensation Report

Manufacturing is still riding a resurgent wave, with strong demand for top performers and potentially millions of jobs to fill in the next decade. Manufacturers interested in gaining a competitive edge are building compensation packages that attract and retain the very best.

“The report really underscores the financial and career opportunities for qualified, prepared manufacturing workers and professionals,” said report creator Scott Wherley, PhD, SME director, business planning and development. “The opportunity is there for employers, too — to be prepared to become an employer of choice. This report provides manufacturers some benchmarks about how they need to approach compensation to achieve that goal.”

SME surveyed nearly 700 manufacturing workers — both hourly and salary employees — taking a comprehensive look at salaries, bonuses and other compensation across multiple sectors, gender, education and regions. The report also looks at job satisfaction and upcoming hiring plans.

Among the findings:

  • HOURLY COMPENSATION: Averaged more than $64,000 per year (base pay, bonus/commission and dividends/stock options/profit sharing).
  • SALARIED COMPENSATION: Averaged nearly $112,000 per year.
  • EMPLOYEE RAISES: 68 percent of hourly workers and 73 percent of salary workers reported a wage increase in the last year.
  • JOB SATISFACTION: 67 percent are satisfied or very satisfied with their current employment.
  • STRONG HIRING: Nearly three-quarters of respondents report that their company is likely or very likely to hire additional employees.

“This report is useful to manufacturing job seekers and employers alike,” said Ryan Kish, senior program manager of Arconic Foundation. “We were delighted to partner with SME and the SME Education Foundation to provide this timely and well-researched information to the industry.”

The report also points out that a competitive starting pay wage can help attract more women to manufacturing, helping to address the overall manufacturing skills gap; currently, women in manufacturing are paid 12 percent less than men. Across all sectors of the country’s economy, according to one organizational consulting firm, women are paid 17.6 percent less than men.

For a more detailed analysis and discussion of manufacturing compensation, please visit

About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With more than 85 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through an education foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or

About Arconic Foundation
Arconic Foundation supports programs that help prepare the 21st century engineering and advanced manufacturing workforce. Arconic Foundation is an independently endowed foundation with assets of approximately $330 million and is the charitable arm of Arconic Inc. – which works in close partnership with customers to solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power. Through collaboration with our nonprofit partners, our initiatives make quality STEM education opportunities available to students; support engineering and technical skills training through community colleges, technical schools and universities around the world; and help to create access for underrepresented individuals to the STEM fields. The work of Arconic Foundation is further enhanced by the thousands of Arconic employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in their communities. Established in 2016, Arconic Foundation is active in 26 countries around the globe.

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