Choosing a career path is perhaps one of the most critical decisions in a person's life. The multitude of choices has made it both easier and difficult for people entering the workforce. So at Totempool, we have a series of posts covering career choices. In this article, we will be discussing 'Is capital goods a good career path?'
What Are Capital Goods?
Generally, there are two types of goods, capital goods and consumer goods. Consumer goods are the final goods that the end customer uses. Consumer goods can refer to either goods or services, and consumer goods can be durables, non-durables, or pure services.
Capital goods are defined as tangible items that are manufactured, and these manufactured goods are subsequently used to produce a consumer good or a final product. Fixed assets are also a form of capital goods, and these come in three major categories – property, plants, and equipment.
A product can be classified as a consumer or capital good based on the following parameters-
- The investment required
The same good can be a consumer good or capital good depending on the situation. Here's an example: An individual purchases a laptop for his personal use. The laptop is a consumer good in this case. Whereas if a school places an order for 2000 laptops, it is a capital good.
The capital goods industry is of strategic importance to the economic independence and security of a country.
What Are Capital Goods Examples?
Some examples of capital goods are:
- Chemicals: Oil, minerals, water, and natural gas.
- Automotive: Components for cars, bikes, trucks, and other vehicles.
- Electronics: Semiconductors, telecommunication, industrial, and consumer electronics components.
- Textile: cotton, wool, nylon.
See the following section for more details about each industry.
What Are The Industries in Capital Goods?
The capital goods sector consists of industries that assist other businesses. Subsequently, these businesses produce products and services for the end consumer. This section shall focus on some of the industries that make up the capital goods sector. That, in turn, will help us in answering -'is capital goods a good career path'?
As the name suggests, the chemicals industry uses chemicals to produce products like paints, adhesives, detergents, soaps, etc. Firms use natural substances like oil, minerals, water, and natural gas to create end products.
This is the industry that makes components for cars, bikes, trucks, and other vehicles. The automotive sector refers to businesses that create vehicle parts rather than dealers or salespeople who sell them.
This occupies the largest share in the capital goods sector. The electronics industry consists of the following subdivisions: semiconductors, telecommunication, industrial, and consumer electronics.
The primary function of this industry is to supply parts to electric industries to manufacture electronic items.
This industry produces steel products and recycles steel scrap. Since steel is an important construction material, it is in high demand for various projects.
This industry manufactures the heavy machines and equipment necessary to create goods. Moreover, this sector also includes businesses that supply other companies with equipment. The public generally does not buy these items.
The textile industry produces fabrics such as cotton, wool, nylon. It also produces coloring substances such as dyes, and these products then act as raw materials for the apparel industry.
What are The Jobs Available in the Capital Goods Sector?
The question – Is capital goods a good career path can be answered better by looking at some of the job opportunities available. These jobs are typically in the manufacturing sector. This sector involves the creation of new products from raw materials or the assembly of components. Manufacturing helps create products or a variety of industries. Given below is a list of some jobs in this sector:
The primary function of an assembler is to understand how different parts come together to create the final product. He should know how to measure and connect various components. Technical know-how is a must, but a high level of formal education or qualifications is not required. An assembler makes $ 32,592 on average annually.
A warehouse worker's responsibilities include stocking various products, placing an order, packaging, and preparing orders for delivery. Additionally, they are also entrusted with tracking and unloading shipments. Warehouse workers require high efficiency in their jobs. The average annual salary of a warehouse worker is $33,841 per year.
Quality Control Inspector
Quality is the cornerstone of manufacturing. The quality control inspector must ensure that various quality standards are met. These quality standards are reviewed in terms of processes, specifications, materials used, and so on. A quality control inspector should be able to pay attention to minute details. A quality control inspector earns over $40,000 per year on average.
They have to set up and operate the equipment. Additionally, manufacturing technicians inspect and test products and assemblies. A manufacturing technician's responsibility is to ensure that the equipment is running smoothly, which involves setup, calibration, and maintenance of machinery. A manufacturing technician makes $47,985 each year.
They look after the machinery and the overall process. One of their key responsibilities is to identify areas of improvement in the equipment and the process. Further, he also oversees the production line, efficiency, and troubleshooting aspects. He is also tasked with developing innovative solutions to enhance production. Finally, his salary is close to $80,000 per year.
Advanced Career Options
Apart from the careers discussed above, the capital goods sector offers several senior or specialized positions avenues. Here are the details of these advanced options.
Computer-Aided Design(CAD) Technician
CAD technicians develop expertise in the design and manufacture of products using CAD software. They typically study industrial technology and technology management. Their annual average salary is $47,000
Mechatronics Engineering Technician
He applies a combination of engineering theories such as electronics, computer sciences, and mechanical to develop, modify and test machines. So, these machines are used in various stages of production. Also, a mechatronics engineer makes close to $90,000 per year on average.
A fabricator has to create a finished product. To do this, he puts together the components according to an instruction manual. Moreover, fabricators have to be familiar with blueprint designs. He needs to be comfortable with technology and possess a high degree of skill. His mean salary is upwards of $38,000 per year.
A robotics engineer works on designing automation tools and electromechanical robots. These robots can be programmed to perform repetitive or hazardous tasks, resulting in a safer working environment for everyone. Finally, a robotics engineer earns $93,364 on average annually.
A manufacturing manager schedules and supervises production, and he is responsible for most of the planning, like equipment layout and process flow. Additionally, he is tasked with workforce management. A manufacturing manager earns $100,000 on average each year.
Director of Manufacturing
The manufacturing director is closely aligned with the top management. He sets production goals. Furthermore, he hires supervisors and managers. It is also his responsibility to ensure that the factory meets the highest safety standards. Directors of manufacturing typically earn about $200,000 each year.
Other typical available jobs, not related only to capital goods, are Financial, Marketing HR, Supply Chain, Engineer, at the levels of Associates, Assistants, Analysts, Managers, Directors, and VPS.
How Many Jobs Are Available in the Capital Goods Sector?
According to the career website Indeed, more than 40 thousand jobs are available in capital goods in the USA.
Pros of a Career in the Capital Goods Sector
Now that we have explored career options in the capital goods sector in detail. Let us look at some reasons why one should consider pursuing a career in this industry.
Plenty of entry-level opportunities.
The capital goods sector has several positions that require no previous work experience. One can get on-the-job training, and this is more hands-on than certifications or internships.
Moreover, the exposure to several diverse industries is a big plus. One can choose to work in manufacturing, pharma, aerospace, textiles, and so on. A person can pick up valuable skills that will help him in the long run and gain work experience.
Working on something real.
This sector involves the creation of tangible products. Therefore one gets to physically see the results of their efforts which is immensely satisfying. This is very different from the jobs where the results are often abstract.
Opportunities to go up the ladder.
There are a lot of options for employees to advance their careers in this sector. An individual can move from an entry-level production role to leadership positions like a plant operator or a quality control inspector.
Avoiding a sedimentary lifestyle.
A manufacturing job involves a lot of standing, running around, lifting objects, etc. The physical aspect of a manufacturing job keeps one active and healthy, and it also prevents boredom that tends to be associated with desk jobs.
Cons of a Career in the Capital Goods Sector
We have reached the next stage of finding the answer to Is capital goods a good career path? Despite the positives, there exist specific glaring issues in this sector. Let us examine these below:
Dangerous work environment.
Factories are the heart and soul of the capital goods sector. And with all heavy machinery, equipment, and chemicals involved, work is highly hazardous. So, it is necessary that maintaining the highest safety standards is given the highest priority.
Automation reduces the dependence on labor.
The capital goods sector was significant for people with limited formal education. Now, the increase in technology is slowly but surely, replacing workers from assembly-line jobs that were a hallmark of the industrial revolution.
Keeping pace with new technologies.
Installing robots or using the latest technologies is excellent. But, not all firms can afford this, leading to a very high barrier to entry.
Issues with Technology.
The same technology that makes fantastic things possible is vulnerable to security attacks. Individuals with malicious intentions can gain control of the machinery and cause havoc. Internet of Things(IoT) devices are particularly vulnerable as each device has a different entry point in the system.
The capital goods sector is an excellent career choice for people who are interested in creating things.
It is also an ideal choice if one wishes to be a part of the global supply chain- the engine that keeps the world up and running. So we have answered the question "Is capital goods a good career path?" for you – now it's time for you to choose!
If you want to know more about other career paths, check this list on Totempool. You will be able to make your choices with solid information before moving to a particular industry: