Production managers organise and control the production process in a factory. They ensure that products are made to the right specifications and are ready on time and within budget.
Production managers with up to five years' experience usually earn
$65K-$100K per year
Senior production managers usually earn
$100K-$130K per year
Source: Madison and Michael Page, 2020.
Pay for production managers varies depending on skills and experience.
- Production managers with one to five years' experience usually earn $65,000 to $100,000 a year.
- Senior production managers may earn between $100,000 and $130,000.
Sources: Madison, 'NZ Employment Market Report', 2020; and Michael Page, 'New Zealand Salary Benchmark', 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Production managers may do some or all of the following:
- order and co-ordinate materials, supplies and equipment
- set production goals, timetables and budgets
- evaluate production processes, and report on production results
- manage repairs, testing and upgrading of equipment
- develop new products or production processes
- recruit and train new production staff
- meet with clients or customers
- maintain safety standards in the factory.
Skills and knowledge
Production managers need to have:
- financial and budgeting skills
- skill in analysing information and figures
- knowledge of employment relations laws.
- work regular business hours or do shift work, which may include nights and weekends
- are usually based in an office or on the factory floor
- may work in conditions that are hot and noisy
- may travel locally or nationally to meet new customers or suppliers.
To become a production manager you need to have experience working in a factory, preferably in a supervisory role.
Employers may also prefer you to have a diploma or Bachelor's degree in one of the following areas (depending on the industry you work in):
- engineering or manufacturing technology
- food technology
- purchasing and materials management
- quality assurance.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a production manager. However, maths with statistics and/or calculus, chemistry, processing technologies, business studies and English are useful.
Additional requirements for specialist roles:
To specialise as a technical manager, a diploma or degree in an area relevant to the industry you work in, such as engineering, is preferred.
To specialise as a quality manager, it is recommended you complete a Certificate or Diploma in Quality Assurance.
Production managers need to be:
- friendly and patient
- organised, and good at planning
- good at decision-making and problem-solving
- excellent at communicating
- good at leading people
- able to work well under pressure, and deal with conflict.
Useful experience for production managers includes:
- experience in the industry that you want to work in
- management or engineering experience
- work in a factory or office.
Production managers can choose to gain certification through the NZ Association for Operations & Supply Chain Professionals (NZPICS) Incorporated, which offers modules in all aspects of production management and planning.
Find out more about training
- 0800 526 1800 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.competenz.org.nz
- Engineering New Zealand
- (04) 473 9444 - email@example.com - www.engineeringnz.org
- NZ Organisation for Quality
- (06) 351 4407 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.nzoq.org.nz
- NZ Association for Operations & Supply Chain Professionals (NZPICS) Incorporated
- (09) 525 1525 - email@example.com - www.nzpics.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Growth in manufacturing creates opportunities
Opportunities for production managers are growing because:
- manufacturing is expanding, with the largest sectors – food products, fabricated metal and machinery – continuing to provide the largest number of opportunities for production managers
- high-tech companies, such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, are growing and require skilled production managers.
According to the Census, 7,977 production managers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Opportunities best for production managers with trades skills
Many manufacturing companies – especially bigger high-tech companies – prefer to employ production managers who have experience in a trade, such as mechanical engineering, or who have a degree.
However, people can also become production managers by working their way up from entry-level manufacturing positions. You can increase your chances of achieving this by having:
- a good attitude to work
- good communication and people skills, including being a good team player
- good literacy and numeracy skills
- an ability to do shift work
- some trades skills
- an interest in management.
It is also useful to gain:
- management qualifications
- diverse experience in the manufacturing process, as production management requires an overview of the production process.
Types of employers varied
Most manufacturing companies have a production manager. In small companies, which are often privately owned, the job may be combined with another role such as team administrator.
- Beard, C, executive director, BusinessNZ, careers.govt.nz interview, October 2017.
- Madison, 'NZ Employment Market Report 2020', accessed November 2020, (www.madison.co.nz).
- ManufacturingNZ, 'Manufacturing the Powerhouse of the NZ Economy', 13 September 2016, (www.manufacturingnz.org.nz).
- Michael Page, 'New Zealand Salary Benchmark 2020', accessed November 2020, (www.michaelpage.co.nz).
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Managers: Occupation Outlook', 2017, (www.mbie.govt.nz).
- Rush, P, human resources manager, Temperzone, careers.govt.nz interview, September 2017.
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- The Treasury, 'New Zealand Economic and Financial Overview 2016 – Manufacturing’, accessed October 2017, (www.treasury.govt.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Production managers may progress into general management roles or take up a similar position in another industry.
They may also specialise in a role such as:
- Production Planner
- Production planners help ensure their factories run smoothly by working out timetables and keeping necessary supplies in stock.
- Quality Manager
- Quality managers are responsible for ensuring products meet relevant quality standards and legislation, for setting up quality assessment systems, and improving product quality.
- Technical Manager
- Technical managers are responsible for the quality and performance of technology in the workplace.
Last updated 15 December 2020