Jobs Outlook: Industrial Production Managers

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Employment of industrial production managers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. However, a number of job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Applicants with a college degree in industrial engineering, management, or business administration, and particularly those with an undergraduate engineering degree and a masterís degree in business administration or industrial management, enjoy the best job prospects. Employers also are likely to seek candidates who have excellent communication skills and who are personable, flexible, and eager to enhance their knowledge and skills through ongoing training.

Although manufacturing output is projected to rise, increases in productivity among industrial production managers and the workers they supervise will limit growth in employment of these managers. Productivity gains among managers will stem from the increasing use of computers for scheduling, planning, and coordination. Productivity gains among workers will limit both the number of employees in factories and the need for supervision. In addition, more emphasis on quality in the production process has redistributed some of the production managerís oversight responsibilities to supervisors and workers on the production line. Because production managers are so essential to the efficient operation of a plant, they have not been greatly affected by recent efforts to flatten management structures. Nevertheless, this trend has led production managers to assume more responsibilities and has limited the creation of more employment opportunities.

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