Plant Manager and Industry 4.0: how organisations are transforming this role


Every month, Robert Walters put a highly sought-after position in the spotlight.

This month, Julide Tunali, senior manager in the engineering, supply chain, healthcare & life sciences division, highlights the position of Plant Manager.




A role with a lot of responsibilities, the Industrial Operations Manager combines technical expertise and leadership to define an industrial strategy respecting quality rules, deadlines and forecasted costs. Julide explains the transformation of this position and its stakes in Industry 4.0. 

What does the job of a Plant Manager look like in the industry of the future? 

In a world where change is happening at high speed, the industrial sector is constantly renewing itself. In addition to essential technical skills, today’s Plant Manager must be able to combine expertise with management. Julide: "As the production scheme evolves towards a 4.0 industry, the operations manager must be flexible in adapting to technological changes, thanks to his rich and varied technical skills. All divisions in an organisation are in contact and answer to the Plant Manager: from engineering to supply chain, production and quality control. He or she must therefore be an expert in each of these domains, but also possess soft skills such as agile management, reliability and autonomy.”

What is at stake for the industry? 

Julide: "In Belgium, industrial companies pay a lot of attention to the language knowledge of their employees. Because of the shortage of Belgian engineers on the job market, it is difficult for these companies to find bilingual professionals with the required skills. The challenge for hiring managers is therefore to keep the door open to international candidates with this type of expertise and a good command of English.”

What salary can you expect as a Plant Manager?

According to recent Robert Walters Salary Survey, a professional with 3 to 6 years of experience can count on an average gross salary between €80,000 and €125,000 per year. An employee with at least 6 years of experience can earn up to €150,000 gross per year. Finally, a Plant Manager with more than 10 years of experience receives a salary between €150,000 and €170,000 gross per year. In addition, extra-legal benefits such as a mobile phone, laptop and company car are often also included. 

In which sectors is demand for Plant Managers the highest? 

According to LinkedIn Talent Insights, most Plant Managers work in the construction sector. "We also see a very high demand in the food sector, industrial automation and the medical sector," says Julide. Flanders is particularly in demand for this type of profile: 60% of the jobs are in Flanders, compared to 14% in Walloon Brabant and 3% in Brussels. "This is explained by the strong presence of production companies in Flanders.”

In what proportion are women represented in this type of role?

LinkedIn Talent Insights reveals that only 10% of Plant Managers worldwide are women. However, Belgium is above the global average, with 15% female Plant Managers. For Julide, this is still a very low figure: We all know that the sector is predominantly male, but there is no difference between 'female' and 'male' tasks. On the contrary, thanks to their empathy and attention to detail, women are particularly good at this type of work. Organisations willing to increase the diversity of their leadership are therefore on the right track. Because there are more steps up the ladder for a woman engineer than for a man, those who reach the top are all the more involved in their work.


Find out more?

View our latest jobs in engineering or send your CV to Julide Tunali.

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