Salary levels rise, as do job-security concerns (sidebar)

Survey methodology

The 2005 salary survey, taken on earlier this year, is based on responses from 131 end-user buyers of packaging machinery, materials, or services.

Food packaging dominated the type of products packaged, with 32% of respondents. Fewer than 10% of respondents reported from each of the following product categories: pharmaceuticals, beverages, chemicals, medical products, or cosmetics.

Geographically speaking, 41% of respondents were located in the Midwest. The Southeast was next at 17%, followed by the Northeast (14%) and the Southwest (9%).

Asked for individual titles that best matched their duties, respondents most frequently mentioned packaging engineer (26%). Packaging R&D (13%) and production or operations supervisor or manager (9%) were next, followed by plant manager, purchasing agent, maintenance, and director of packaging.

More than three in 10 (31%) reported they had worked more than 15 years in a packaging capacity. Another 22% indicated six to 10 years, 22% two to five years, 12% less than two years, and 11% between 11 and 15 years.

Men made up 83% of respondents. Nearly one-third of this year’s respondents were between 40 and 49 years old. Thirty- and fifty-something respondents were virtually even, combining to total 53% of those answering the survey. Only 12% were 29 or younger, and only 3% were 60 or older.

Nearly 49% of respondents said they had earned a four-year college degree, 27% a postgraduate degree, and nearly 15% a two-year degree. Just over one in five respondents (22.1%) specialized in packaging in trade school, college, or during postgraduate studies.

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