Industrial production managers oversee the operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct activities involved in creating a range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, and paper products.


Industrial production managers typically do the following:

  • Decide how best to use a plant’s workers and equipment to meet production goals
  • Ensure that production stays on schedule and within budget
  • Communicate with sales staff, customers, and suppliers
  • Hire, train, and evaluate workers
  • Analyze production data
  • Review production reports
  • Monitor a plant’s workers and programs to ensure they meet performance and safety requirements
  • Streamline the production process
  • Assess whether production needs, such as for equipment upgrades or overtime work, are within budget 
  • Lead staff in resolving problems or improving production

Industrial production managers, also called plant managers, may oversee an entire manufacturing plant or a specific area of production.

Some industrial production managers are responsible for carrying out quality control programs to make sure the finished product meets standards for quality. Often called quality control systems managers, their work helps to identify a defect in products, identify the cause of the defect, and solve the problem that created it. For example, a manager may determine that a defect is being caused by parts from an outside supplier. The manager can then work with the supplier to improve the quality of the parts.

Industrial production managers who oversee an entire plant often work closely with managers from other departments, such as sales, warehousing, and research and design. For example, they might coordinate with a manager for the procurement (buying) department about orders for supplies that the production department needs.

Work Environment

Industrial production managers held about 203,800 jobs in 2021. The largest employers of industrial production managers were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing             10%
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 10
Chemical manufacturing 8
Machinery manufacturing 7
Food manufacturing 7

Industrial production managers spend some of their time in an office and some of it in the production area. When they are in the production area, they may need to wear protective equipment, such as a helmet, hearing protection, or safety goggles.

Work Schedules

Most industrial production managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They may need to be on call to deal with emergencies at any time. Some industrial production managers work night or weekend shifts.

Education and Training

Industrial production managers typically need a bachelor’s degree and several years of related work experience.


Employers typically require or prefer that industrial production managers have a bachelor’s degree. However, some workers qualify for jobs if they have a high school diploma and extensive production experience.

For workers who have a degree, common majors include business and engineering. Some employers prefer to hire industrial production managers who have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a graduate degree in industrial management.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Industrial production managers usually need years of work experience in supervisory or other leadership positions. Some begin as production workers and move up through the ranks.

Industrial production workers usually advance to supervisory or other leadership positions before eventually becoming industrial production managers. Some take company-sponsored management classes to increase their chances of a promotion.

Those with a college degree might begin as a supervisor or lower-level manager. Other college graduates may be hired as an industrial production manager and complete training programs. Some begin working as an industrial production manager directly after college or graduate school. They may spend their first few months in training programs, becoming familiar with the production process, company policies, and safety regulations. In large companies, they may spend short periods of time working in other departments, such as purchasing or accounting, to learn more about the company.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although they are not required to do so, industrial production managers may earn certifications to demonstrate competency in quality or management systems. The American Society of Quality (ASQ) offers credentials in quality control and various levels of Six Sigma certifications. Because these credentials often require specific work experience, they typically are not available prior to entering the occupation.

Personality and Interests

Industrial production managers typically have an interest in the Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an industrial production manager, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Industrial production managers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Interpersonal skills. Industrial production must have excellent communication skills so they can work with managers from other departments, as well as with the company’s senior-level management.

Leadership skills. To keep the production process running smoothly, industrial production managers must motivate and direct the employees they manage.

Problem-solving skills. Production managers must be able to identify problems immediately and solve them. For example, if a product has a defect, the manager determines whether it is a onetime problem or the result of the production process.

Time-management skills. To meet production deadlines, managers must carefully manage their employees’ time as well as their own.


The median annual wage for industrial production managers was $103,150 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $64,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $170,470.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for industrial production managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Chemical manufacturing $125,480
Transportation equipment manufacturing          119,400
Machinery manufacturing 101,870
Food manufacturing 98,500
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 98,490

Most industrial production managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. They may need to be on call to deal with emergencies at any time. Some industrial production managers work night or weekend shifts.

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial production managers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite limited employment growth, about 15,400 openings for industrial production managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Most of these managers are employed in manufacturing industries, some of which are expected to have declining employment due to greater productivity. However, because industrial production managers are responsible for coordinating work activities with the goal of increasing productivity, they will continue to be needed in this capacity.

For More Information

For more information about quality management and certification, visit

American Society for Quality                                 

For general information about manufacturing careers, visit

National Association of Manufacturers




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

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