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How to Build a Career in the Packaging Industry

Have you ever thought about a career in the packaging industry? If not, you may want to reconsider. Everyone knows that technology, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. are all booming these days. But what most fail to realize is that the biggest names in every sector still utilize the packaging industry to fulfill their brands.

Think about it. Any physical product that’s designed, built, made or harvested must be transported elsewhere to be of value to the market. And jobs in the packaging industry are what make this transition a safe, secure and reliable process.

Why Choose a Career In The Packaging Industry?

Packaging can be an exciting and lucrative career with virtually unlimited growth potential. Research shows that packaging is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Some estimates point to total sales reaching $975 Billion in 2018 with no slowdowns expected anytime soon.

Booming industries like food and beverage, consumer goods, automotive and construction are seeing phenomenal growth and know that packaging is a major component of their success.

In fact, according to recent data, 3.4 trillion items were packed in 2016 alone. Not to mention that these numbers have steadily increased year-over-year for nearly the last decade.

Because of this huge demand, packaging industry jobs are available at every skill level (from production to management) for those who are ready to apply.

If that doesn’t get you fired up, here are a few more benefits to consider.

Packaging Is a Stable Industry

Despite the ups and downs of world economies, packaging is an industry that stays in demand.

No matter what happens, people always need food, healthcare, transportation and consumer goods (amongst other things) in order to survive. That means jobs in the packaging industry are all but guaranteed to remain stable.  

And we’re not just talking about the basics either. As consumer class income continues to grow, buyer appetites for goods, services, and conveniences typically follow suit.  

Electronics, sports and entertainment, home furnishings, etc. - the list goes on and on.

With all needing innovative, well-designed packaging to facilitate their growth.

There’s A Strong Need for Creative Talent

Most successful businesses agree that packaging can serve as an ambassador for your brand.

Being fun, creative, or different is what allows the best companies to stand out from the competition. Not to mention that (all things being equal) consumer choice often boils down to which product has the stronger visual or emotional appeal.

However, it's about more than just colors and images - physical design plays a vital role as well. Unique configurations often appeal to consumers sense of style and taste. Thus, driving the demand for smart, strong, yet aesthetically-pleasing packaging options.

Better-designed packaging benefits manufacturers also. As lighter products mean less raw materials used and reduced fuel costs to deliver goods.

Packaging Jobs Are in Demand

As the economy grows, so does the need for packaging professionals. Take, for example, the recent surge in online shopping. The National Retail Federation predicted an 8-12% growth rate in 2017 (3x the total retail average). Factor in the need to reliably transport all these items and it’s clear that this trend will continue to rise.

The food industry is another incredibly hot market. Organic items, portable snacks and prepared meals are seeing tremendous growth across the board. Industry estimates for flexible packaging are above 50% of total volume for this particular market sector.

Strong consumer demand for longer shelf life, non-toxic materials, and environmentally-friendly designs are the driving factors behind these changes.

Types of Jobs In The Packaging Industry

Packaging may have originated on the assembly line, but has come a long way since then. Nowadays, the need for a multitude of talented individuals (from every discipline) is stronger than ever.

Production - still the heart of the industry. While most production jobs are entry level, they’re often a gateway into many other high-level industry careers.

Typical roles in this area include line workers, operators, and mechanics. Their main responsibilities involve packing, sorting and shipping but they also find new and more efficient ways of doing business while ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Production roles are a natural fit for those who crave structure, like problem-solving and enjoy working with their hands.

Engineering - a critical discipline in the packaging industry. These are the experts who create the actual packing materials themselves using advanced chemical, mechanical and engineering knowledge. The job also involves selecting raw materials with a focus on optimal strength, durability, shelf life and cost efficiency.

A great field for those who excel in math and science and enjoy working with technology.

Sales and Marketing - help spread the word about packaging products. Salespeople market to clients using their business acumen and people skills. Often working with copywriters, brand experts, and engineers to create packaging that makes an impression and generates results.  

Designers are called upon to make items feel beautiful and unique. These marketing specialists study color, design, shape, and texture to create demand and entice consumers.

Consumer Strategists study public behavior to uncover the latest trends in sales and buying habits. Recognizing how subtle changes in design and positioning can affect overall revenues.

Support Services - are needed in every industry with packaging being no exception. Information Technology, Human Resources, Safety, Legal - you name it and it’s there. Large packaging brands have tremendous support budgets, and with the forecasted growth in this sector, they’re only going to get bigger.

Management and Leadership - opportunities for packaging executives are on the rise and those with the right skills and experience can fetch top dollar. With such a high demand existing worldwide, opportunities are available most anywhere you want to go.

Not surprisingly, strategic leaders with the right skills and experience can fetch top dollar.

Directors, VPs, and C-Level talent are needed in multiple areas of packaging including: Operations, Sales and Marketing, Research and Development and many others.  

Best of all, with such a high-demand existing worldwide, executive opportunities in packaging are available most anywhere you want to go.

Conclusion

Bottom line - packaging is an exceptional industry to be in. A business sector filled with great people who enjoy strong job security, have an abundance of opportunities, and work on interesting projects that make a difference in the marketplace.

Many packaging industry jobs offer generous compensation packages, excellent fringe benefits, and quality work-life balances. Perks sometimes found lacking in other large industries.

You may not have previously considered a career in the packaging industry - but with so much to offer - it deserves a spot on your shortlist.  

Together- We Succeed!

Chase & Associates

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