Pay rates have increased for the overall plastics industry in 2019, but at a lower rate than the year before, according to a new wage and salary survey from the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors.
Overall pay hikes at plastics factories averaged 3 percent, down from a 5 percent increase in the 2018 report, MAPP said.
MAPP collected data covering about 60 job classifications from plastics processing plants across the United States, from accounts payable/receiving clerk to warehouse material handler.
The Indianapolis-based trade association released the report on Oct. 22. The survey covered 260 plastics manufacturing companies — nearly half of them with sales in the range of $15-$50 million. Injection molding accounted for 91 percent of the respondents, but the survey also covered other processes such as extrusion, mold building, thermoforming and structural foam molding.
According to the MAPP report, about two-thirds of the job descriptions in this year's report had wage gains that are above the U.S. inflation rate of 1.7 percent. Some types of jobs had big pay increases, as 5 percent of job titles rose by 10 percent or more.
However, 25 percent of job descriptions in this year's survey showed a greater than 5 percent growth in wages, down from 50 percent in the 2018 report.
Jobs showing pay increases of more than a 5 percent include entry-level technical jobs, tool shop manager, engineering manager, maintenance manager, production scheduler, design engineer, environmental health and safety manager (EHS) and continuous improvement manager.
"Increases in many of these positions may be attributed to companies working to fill open positions, adding valuable services to customers or expanding their customer base," the MAPP report says.
The position of design engineer topped all job titles with a 17 percent pay hike. EHS managers and sales directors both had a 15 percent pay increase in 2019.
But some jobs had wage declines, or growth well below the rate of U.S. inflation, MAPP said. These include marketing manager, chief inspector, administrative assistant and customer service representative. Pay for marketing manager and chief inspector both dropped by double digits — marketing manager fell 13 percent and chief inspector dipped by 11 percent.
MAPP tracked some other trends, including the popularity of merit-based pay instead of across-the-board raises. From 2011 through 2014, the trade association said, only about half of plastics companies gave pay raises according to merit or performance-based systems. Today 78 percent of companies do that.
With unemployment rates still low, companies are still looking to add employees. MAPP said the survey showed 86 percent of respondents said they expect to hire during the next 12 months.
The survey also detailed issues other than pay, including turnover rate overtime, shift-pay differentials and benefits.
For more information about the report, including details on purchasing it, go to www.mappinc.com.