Packaging Digest is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Salary survey: Healthy compensation, cautious outlook

Article-Salary survey: Healthy compensation, cautious outlook

Despite a pretty stable job market and growing compensation, survey respondents worry about downsizing and overseas outsourcing.

By Daphne Allen, Editor

The average salary for respondents in PMP News’ eighth annual salary survey is a healthy one—$89,200. More than half make $75,000 or more per year, and only 6% earn less than $50,000. On average, raises are healthy, with a mean raise of 5.1%. Only 8% did not receive a raise.

Given this job climate, most survey respondents are satisfied with their positions—less than 10% are actively looking for a new job. They have spent considerable time in the industry. The median number of years spent working in the healthcare product packaging industry is 13 years, with respondents working for their present employers an average of 10 years.

Despite such stability, respondents are concerned about market conditions such as consolidation and downsizing. Others fear anticipated threats from competitors, such as overseas operations or generics companies.

Perhaps driven by such competition, packaging professionals are keeping an eye on the bottom line. One respondent sums up the packager’s role in this way: “[My compensation] is directly affected by [my] ability to provide low-cost, high-quality products to the customer quickly.” Another writes that “adapting to new technologies and staying current with market direction” affects his compensation. Another notes that today’s packaging realities—“increasing materials cost”—can directly affect wages: “It is very hard to achieve your cost savings objective when everything is going up in price. This reflects badly on yearly review.”

Several respondents appear troubled over consolidations and cost cutting within the industry. Competition and outsourcing work overseas are other concerns. “Cost-saving initiatives and outsourcing increase shareholder value, but keep salaries down,” writes a respondent. “Downsizing puts added burden on survivors.”

“Possible price controls on products” will play a role, reports another. 
Others spoke of increased costs of oil and plastic resin as affecting wages.
Such market conditions appear to be driving lean manufacturing, which may present compensation opportunities for those professionals who can implement successful programs. “Lean manufacturing and cost-improvement progress” will affect compensation, writes one respondent. Others spoke of Kaizen programs. 
Many see value in their efforts. “Validation of package systems requires expertise in package development, qualification, risk assessment, and process control.” Wrote another: “RFID and other logistical technologies will possibly increase my compensation value because of my technical skills.”

Skills may pay off. “I believe my own performance level and utilizing the tools currently available to me will have a much greater affect on my personal compensation.”


The data for this year’s survey were obtained during a mail survey of PMP News subscribers. The survey was designed jointly by PMP News and Readex Inc. (St. Paul, MN) and conducted June through July of this year. Surveys were mailed to 1200 domestic subscribers, representing 10,001 packaging professionals who work for manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, in vitro diagnostics, and nutritional supplements.

The sample was limited to only those with one of these job functions: engineering, packaging design, production/manufacturing, QA/QC, and research and development.

Of the 1200 mailed surveys, 443 usable responses were returned, representing a 37% response rate. Because usable responses were received from less than half the survey sample, the possibility exists that those who did not respond might have answered differently than those who did.

The results in this article are based on the responses of 356 respondents who indicated that they are involved with healthcare product packaging and work full time. Statistically speaking, these 356 individuals represent an estimated 8000 industry professionals. The margin of error for percentages based on 356 usable responses is ±5% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for percentages based on smaller sample sizes—males or females, for example—will be larger.

The survey was conducted by Readex in accordance with accepted research standards and practices.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Multigenerational Workforce

In today’s workplace, five generations are actively employed. In this free ebook, learn how to leverage the strengths of each generation in your packaging department.