Recruiting Blog

The Economy And Job Market Are Improving: TIME TO ADD “LEAN” FOR INCREASED MUSCLE!

Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population SurveyU.S. payrolls grew modestly in October but the unemployment rate fell and wages edged up. These are all signs that both the labor market and the overall economy are strengthening.

The Labor Department said today that Nonfarm payrolls grew a seasonally adjusted 214,000 last month. Since the start of the year, employers have added an average of 220,000 workers per month, a pace not seen for nearly ten years!

The unemployment rate, obtained from a separate survey of households, fell to 5.8% last month. That’s the lowest level since 2008. Many economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain 5.9%. Today’s report suggests demand for workers continues to strengthen modestly, a trend started this spring.

Friday’s report showed fairly broad based jobs gains. The leisure and hospitality sector added 52,000 jobs and retailers added 27,100. But higher-wage fields also grew. Manufacturing added 15,000 jobs, and professional and business services grew by 37,000.

Government payrolls also increased by 5,000 last month, led by state and local hiring. After deep cut backs in recent years, government budgets have stabilized and public spending contributed to overall economic growth for the second straight quarter this summer.

Lean manufacturingWithin manufacturing, one area that is leading the charge is LEAN. This vocation, which continues to be in very high demand and extremely short supply, focuses on ways to streamline plant operations, reduce bottlenecks and improve overall efficiencies of an organization (Please go to for a more detailed description of the field and concepts). Related keywords include Continuous Improvement or CI, Six Sigma, Kaizen,Kanban, debottlenecking, Toyota Production System or TPS and Just-In-Time or JIT. Especially for manufacturers that are in stiff competition with Asian rivals in industries with very tight margins (e.g. automobiles and electronics), LEAN can be a remedy for profitability!

LEAN can significantly assist President Obama’s goal of advanced manufacturing centers, including his recently announced four digital hubs, to improve American manufacturing. This is the case since Lean manufacturing and continuous improvement can yield immediate return on investment or ROI for U.S. companies.

As a result, LEAN positions are paying very well across the nation in general and in the Chicago area in specific. For example, one of our recently completed searches was for a LEAN Manager for a leading Chicago area confectionery company. These positions pay up to $150,000 in salary with bonuses up to 20-30%! This is the case because LEAN can provide quick fixes to struggling companies in a wide range of industries!

Furthermore, many companies across the nation are offering $50,000 or more to recent engineering graduates (especially Mechanical, Industrial or Manufacturing) with only one previous LEAN internship as their only work experience! This proves the importance of LEAN.

Although there are no precise salary surveys for LEAN, one of the closest is from APICS (The Association for Operations Management). Especially, their job category “Execution & Control of Operations,” which pinpoints the huge salaries now being offered in the LEAN field.

What are your thoughts?

1 Comment

pat boutier

November 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Scott, on the one hand you provide a service here by giving information and letting anyone with Lean credentials know you are looking to help them out.
That’s great, but I would be remiss in not clarifying that companies that decide to employ or deploy lean advocates for “quick fix’s” are doomed to have those fix’s fail. Experience and data show that Lean is not about a quick fix, but rather continuous improvement with culture change. Without a commitment from management to work towards a different culture, one that embraces having the workforce involved in change, any short term improvements are generally lost within a short period of time.
In your defense you do make reference to a lean website for others to become informed.
Best of luck with helping companies and lean practitioners.

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