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Production Manager

Kaiwhakahaere Whakaputa

Alternative titles for this job

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.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a production manager are good due to growing demand.


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.

Working conditions

Production managers:

  • 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.

Entry requirements

To become a production manager you need to have experience working in a related role such as production planner or technical manager.

Employers may also prefer you to have a tertiary qualification, such as a certificate or diploma, in one of the following areas:

  • engineering or manufacturing technology 
  • food technology 
  • purchasing and materials management
  • quality assurance
  • supply chain management or warehouse logistics.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a production manager. However, business studies, chemistry, maths with statistics and/or calculus, and processing technologies are useful.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Quality Manager

To specialise as a quality manager, it is recommended you complete a diploma in quality assurance.

Technical Manager

To specialise as a technical manager, a tertiary qualification in an area relevant to the industry you work in, such as engineering, is preferred.

Personal requirements

Production managers need to be:

  • friendly and patient
  • organised and good at planning
  • good at making decisions and solving problems
  • excellent at communicating
  • good at leading people
  • able to work well under pressure, and deal with conflict.

Useful experience

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 may choose to become certified through the NZ Association for Operations & Supply Chain Professionals (NZPICS), which offers modules in all aspects of production management and planning.

Find out more about training

0800 526 1800 - -
NZ Association for Operations & Supply Chain Professionals (NZPICS)
(09) 525 1525 - -
NZ Organisation for Quality
(06) 351 4407 - -
Check out related courses

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.


  • Business NZ, ‘Performance of Manufacturing Index’, accessed March 2021, (
  • Madison, 'NZ Employment Market Report 2020', accessed November 2020, (
  • Michael Page, 'New Zealand Salary Benchmark 2020', accessed November 2020, (
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 'Managers: Occupation Outlook', 2017, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Stats NZ, 'Economic Survey of Manufacturing: March 2020 Quarter', 10 June 2020, (

(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.


A production manager talking to a quality manager and technical manager at a factory

Production managers work with other staff to evaluate production processes and report on production results

Last updated 19 April 2021