Is Consumer Nondurables a Good Career Path? Positions & Salaries

Woman working at Bakery Workshop

Are you interested in a manufacturing career? If so, you'll need to decide what type of production company you want to work for. Manufacturers that produce goods designed to be used by consumers fairly quickly and then replaced, represent businesses in the consumer nondurables market sector. If you like the idea of playing a role in making everyday products that people need, for which there will always be a demand, this may be a great career path for you to consider.

Consumer Nondurables Explained

There are two types of consumer goods: durable and nondurable. Durable goods are ones that generally last a long time and are expected to be used over and over. Examples include things like bicycles, cars, kitchenware, and exercise equipment. Consumer nondurables are items that are expected to be used up and replaced quickly. This sector includes things like packaged foods, medicine, and paper products. People purchase them, use them, and then buy them again.

Examples: Nondurable Goods Positions and Pay

As with most broad market sectors, there are a variety of opportunities in the field of nondurable goods. Companies that produce nondurable goods need people to develop products, produce them, promote them, and sell them. As with all industries, nondurable goods companies also employ managers, professional services employees, and back-office administrative professionals. All pay information provided here is current as of 2021.

Food Manufacturing

Food is a nondurable good with an indefinite demand. People and animals have to eat, so there will always be a demand for people to work in food manufacturing. Positions in this field include food science professionals, slaughterers, packers, batch makers, and machine operators. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the average pay for workers across all food production jobs is around $23.50 per hour. When considering only production workers and those who are not in supervisory roles, the average compensation is a bit over $20 per hour.

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Medicine is also a necessity of life for many people, so pharmaceutical manufacturing is another industry where product demand will always be high. Pharmaceutical companies employ people in a wide variety of occupations, including highly educated scientists and researchers, as well as laboratory technicians and production workers. According to, the median rate of pay for pharmaceutical manufacturing technicians is $24 per hour. The median pay for pharmaceutical researchers is over $125,000 per year. These research jobs involve advanced scientific degrees.

Paper Manufacturing

People use a wide variety of paper products on a daily basis. Things like paper towels, tissues, napkins, toilet paper, printer paper, notebook paper, and other paper products get used up quickly and have to be replaced frequently. Like other producers of nondurable goods, companies that manufacture paper products employ people in a variety of scientific and production roles. The average compensation in paper manufacturing as a whole is around $29 per hour, according to BLS. For production and nonsupervisory workers, the average rate of pay is just under $24 per hour.

Nondurable Goods Wholesalers

BLS recognizes merchant wholesalers for nondurable goods as a subsector of the wholesale trade industry. Businesses in this subsector employ laborers, freight movers, shipping and receiving workers, truck drivers, and sales representatives. On average, production and nonsupervisory workers earn just over $26 per hour. When the compensation of all employees in this subsector is considered, the average hourly rate of pay is just over $32 per hour.

Exploring Career Paths in Nondurable Goods

The examples above represent some of the most common career paths in nondurable goods, though certainly there are others. From cotton balls and the cosmetics they help remove, to matches and the candles they are used to light, nondurable goods are everywhere. The types of jobs are similar in most nondurable goods companies, as is compensation. Labor jobs typically pay less than supervisory or scientific positions, but they can be a great way to get your foot in the door so you can gain some experience and decide if nondurable goods production is a good career path for you.

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Is Consumer Nondurables a Good Career Path? Positions & Salaries