Engineering and Maintenance Salary Insights – Food and Beverage Salaries Series #4

July 25, 2022 in Career and Job Search Tips, Food & Beverage Industry Information, HR Best Practices



Leadership in Maintenance and Engineering – a Shrinking Talent Pool.

Of all the positions Kinsa recruiters help our clients source, recruit and place talent in, maintenance and engineering can be some of the toughest reqs. There are several underlying reasons, but most are rooted in the overall talent shortage resulting from baby boomers retiring at a much faster pace than new workers are entering the workforce.

  • The National Science Foundation reports that almost 30% of today’s credentialed engineers and scientists intend to retire within the next 10-15 years, while graduation rates have lagged behind growing demand.
  • On the maintenance side, trade schools and apprenticeship programs have declined significantly in recent decades, and the supply of fresh talent with the mechanical and electrical (and increasingly computer) skills required to maintain today’s increasingly complex machinery has dwindled.

This perfect supply and demand storm has a direct impact on compensation.

Kinsa Group food and beverage executive recruiters have collected salary data from more than 8,000 candidate interviews across several food and beverage categories and skillsets during the past two years. We share that data with employers and job candidates alike in our 2022 Food and Beverage Salary Guide so that you can stay competitive in the dynamic labor market of 2022. We’re taking some time this week to expand on the details shared in the Engineering and Maintenance salary section…

From Maintenance Technician to Supervisor, to Manager.

  • Kinsa’s 2022 Salary Guide shared that while you may employ a Maintenance Technician at $60,000 or even a Maintenance Supervisor at a $60,000 base salary right now, you are at the bottom end of the range and will need to pay $70,000 to $100,000 to attract a new Technician away from their employment and pay $85,000 to $125,000 to attract a Supervisor to join your team.
  • If you want to hire someone for an off-shift maintenance role, you will need to pay a premium, hire someone from one level down that is seeking a promotion, and do not expect them to stay in that off-shift schedule long-term. Maintenance professionals and Supervisors do not typically change jobs without getting a step up in pay, shift schedule/hours, and/or responsibility/title.  You will be hard-pressed to hire like-to-like.
  • Maintenance Managers have been steadily increasing their median base pay from $95,000 reported in 2019 up 121% to $115,000 in 2022.  It was a steady growth of 5% annually over the past two years after a more drastic jump of 11% from 2019-2020.
  • Kinsa’s recruiters expect the median base salary for Maintenance Managers to continue to increase because the high end for Maintenance Supervisors is already $125,000 and for Maintenance Managers, it’s already $150,000.


There are a variety of Engineering titles needed to operate a food processing plant.  Kinsa’s 2022 Salary Guide provides the most comprehensive low – median – high range for these roles to date.

  • Design Engineers and Quality Engineers had a median base salary in the $90,000’s, while Industrial Engineers and Sales Engineers were at the next level of base salary median at $100,000.
  • Packaging Engineers had a large range from $70,000 when they’re starting out their career to $140,000 for experience with the median at $105,000.
  • Food Process Engineers design both the process and/or the equipment to produce new food products, beginning with the raw materials involved and ending with the packaging of the finished product. They are often tasked with optimizing productivity by designing, implementing, and testing new food processing procedures. Food Process Engineers had a median of $120,000 base salary with a high end of $155,000 for those with more experience or employment at a larger food processing plant.
  • Reliability Engineers reported a median base salary of $125,000 and a high of $180,000.  These Reliability Engineers have to ensure that the plant runs effectively and efficiently.  They are tasked with identifying and managing risks that can affect the plant operations, especially reducing costs by minimizing operating system downtimes.
  • Electrical Engineers and Project Engineers both reported a median base salary of $125,000 and a low entry point of $80,000, though Electrical Engineers topped off at $170,000 and Project Engineering Managers could make as high as $200,000
  • If you plan to hire an Engineering Intern, wages for these pre-graduates range from $50,000 to $75,000 right out of the gate.  Be sure to include appropriate compensation in your internship budget.

Engineering Manager, Director, and Vice President

  • Over the last four years, the median pay for Engineering Managers has grown by 25% from $120,000 in 2019 to $150,000 in 2022.  In order to attract these Managers to your operating facility, you will likely need to pay between the median of $150,00 and the high of $180,000.
  • Director of Engineering’s median pay is $170,000 with a high of $250,000, again depending often on the size of the food processing facility and the team of direct can indirect reports as well as the corresponding budget.
  • VP of Engineering has a median of $190,000 but quite a wide range of $135,000 to $260,000 for this top technical services role.

Kinsa Group’s 2022 Food and Beverage Salary Guide

Direct your attention to page 10 of the 2022 Salary Guide to see the complete range of pay by Engineering / Maintenance position titles from VP of Engineering to Maintenance Technician.

Feel free to reach out to our team or contact us to assist you with launching a new search to hire an Engineering and Maintenance professional for your company today.

Looking for the complete food and beverage salary insight guide? Download now for free and get access to the range and median of food and beverage salaries from C-Suite to Sales and Innovation to Operations.


If you are a professional seeking a new Engineering & Maintenance position, review the specific job titles Kinsa Group typically recruits for and consider applying to one of Kinsa Group’s current job openings today! 

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