For the fourth year in a row, Industrial Heating – with help from Clear Seas Research – polled qualified subscribers on a variety of job- and industry-related issues. The goal of this project is to find out more about the current state of employment in the thermal-processing industry.


How many hours per week do you work on average?

This question has become a “State of the Industry” staple and always produces interesting results. While 50% of respondents said they work 40-45 hours per week, 46% said they work over 45 hours per week. Only 4% of respondents said they work less than 40 hours per week. The average among respondents was 47 hours per week, which is up 2 hours per week from last year’s survey. In 2017, 40% of respondents said they work over 45 hours per week, a number that increased significantly this year.

It should be noted that 96% of respondents are full-time employees and 93% are salaried.




How satisfied are you with certain elements of your job?

This was a question with many options for respondents to choose from. The most important takeaway here is that three-in-five respondents rated their overall job satisfaction highly, indicating there is some room for improvement. Satisfaction is the lowest for availability of upward mobility opportunities and company communications surrounding the company vision, while there is room for improvement on various aspects including satisfaction with technical knowledge, job security and chance to be a team leader.

To be precise, 48% of respondents are highly satisfied with their salary and/or benefits, and 56% are satisfied with their work environment.


What skills would you like to develop during the next 12 months?

In this ever-changing and evolving business climate, it’s more important than ever for workers to expand their skill set and advance their education. According to our results, time management (42%) and problem-solving (40%) appear to be priority skills respondents plan to develop in the next year.

Other personal-development goals that garnered a large response were teamwork (32%), certifications (27%) and employee supervision (22%).


Which best describes your company’s approach to embracing new technology?

Another survey standby, we want to find out how willing thermal-processing companies are when it comes to investing in new processes and/or equipment. With technologies like 3D printing/additive manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), this question is even more relevant.

Over half of respondents indicated their company will be either on the leading edge or an early leader when it comes to embracing new technology. To be specific, 32% said their company would be on the leading edge and 25% said their company would be willing to be an early leader. Perhaps more concerning, however, is that 37% of respondents said their company would wait until other, successfully utilize new technology and 7% said their company would likely be one of the last adopters.

When compared to last year’s results, the 57% of respondents who was either willing to be on the leading edge or an early leader is down 10% from 2017. Perhaps some companies have lost their nerve when it comes to embracing new technologies, or maybe they are more willing to just take a wait-and-see approach.




What will be the biggest challenge for your company in the next 12 months?

According to our poll, companies will be most challenged with finding skilled workers for current roles and retaining labor over the next 12 months. By far the biggest concern, 61% of respondents said finding skilled workers would be an obstacle for their company. Meanwhile, 42% said retaining labor would be an issue.

On a positive note, only 18% of respondents said providing training for new positions would be a challenge, a sign that companies are training their workers for the roles of the future.





You may be asking yourself: Who participated in this survey? We can answer that question right now. Over a quarter of respondents are primarily involved with captive in-house heating treating, and 15% are employed with a furnace/oven manufacturer. Just over 10% of respondents work for engineering or consulting firms.

Individually, the average age of respondents was 54, and 83% of respondents have at least a bachelor’s degree. As for experience, 63% of respondents have worked in the industry for more than 20 years. Perhaps most important to note is that 94% of our survey takers are involved in purchasing decisions at their respective companies.



You can take what you will from the survey results presented in this article. What is certain is that Industrial Heating, while attempting to find out more about the state of the thermal-processing industry, has compiled a number of interesting talking points that can be discussed around the office or on the shop floor.

This article is based on information from the October 2018 “Industrial Heating State of the Profession Study” conducted by Clear Seas Research. The entire report, including additional details regarding industry challenges and technology adoption, is available to purchase and download. For details, visit