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Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor statistics projects the following through 2014:
  • 5.6% growth in production jobs
  • 9.6% growth in supervisors and managers
  • 8.1% growth in job printers
  • 14.2% growth in bindery workers

The industry will need graphic artists, machinists, bindery workers, computer operators, sales and customer service people, chemists, warehouse operators, mechanics, drivers, production supervisors, and all forms of management.

Our occupation is stable and there is ample opportunity for career growth. High school graduates can enter the workforce as trainees, and learn on the job. In time they can advance to positions of greater responsibility and skill, and eventually serve in supervisory positions. Graphic Communications jobs are located in every state, and in every type of community, from rural areas to the largest cities.

Compensation Opportunities

Companies in the graphic communications industry offer competitive starting wages and salary packages. Nearly all companies offer comprehensive insurance and benefit packages to their employees with 97% having health plans, and a majority offering 401k or other retirement savings plans.

Hourly wages: The average wage per hour for production/non-supervisory personnel is $16.65. Wages average $18.08 in the industry's core lithographic offset segment. In comparison, wages average $15.15 in automotive repair and maintenance; $12.64 per hour in retailing; and $10.79 in leisure and hospitality.
(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007)

Medium and maximum wages for specific job titles:

 MedianMaximum
Desktop digital operator $19.83 $40.00
Color copier/printer operator $15.00 $27.00
40 six-color press 2nd operator $18.80 $33.30
40 six-color press operator $24.00 $34.05
Web press six-unit operator $24.10 $32.39
Folder operator $16.98 $35.04
Stitcher/Binder operator $17.25 $26.63

(Printing Industries of America Compensation Report 2009-10)

Administrative salaries: Average annual base salaries (not including incentive pay) for department heads/supervisors:

  • Prepress: $54,810
  • Press (Conventional): $54,000
  • Human Resources: $61,500
  • Bindery/Finishing: $53,085
  • Purchasing: $53,429
  • Production Manager: $58,872
  • Plant Manager: $75,000

(Printing Industries of America Compensation Report 2009-10)

Median salaries: Average annual base salaries for the following positions:

  • General Manager: $97,332
  • Plant Manager: $73,875
  • Production Manager: $60,000
  • Plant Superintendent: $63,216
  • Office Manager: $40,641
  • Scheduler: $53,725
  • Estimator: $45,790
  • Art Director: $55,296
  • Chief Technology Officer: $90,206
  • Computer Operations Mgr: $60,183
  • Webmaster/Designer: $48,672
  • Database Manager: $53,000
  • EDP Supervisor: $52,000
  • Customer Service Representative: $41,050
  • Traffic Manager: $46,500
  • Quality Control Supervisor: $61,194

(Printing Industries of America Compensation Report, 2009-10)

Jobs in the graphic communications industry continue to increase in complexity. This requires individuals to have a specific knowledge and skill set that includes verbal and written communication, math ability, computer literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving. The graphic communications industry is looking for graduates in good standing from qualified programs, whether secondary or college.