what is a production worker?

A production worker operates machines and equipment in a factory to produce a specific product. You help manufacture everything from medication and food products to large engine parts. Production workers also work in warehouses, preparing items for distribution. You either have a regular working area or perform a variety of tasks that are assigned daily. The job involves repeating the same physical tasks, and you should match your work pace to the equipment speed.

As a production worker, you assist in assembling products or monitor equipment during production to check for product defects. You work closely with colleagues to ensure the product quality meets the required standards and deadlines. You also maintain the work area following health and safety standards and ensure efficiency.

You can find production worker jobs in any industry. Most production workers work in manufacturing industries for goods, drinks and food. Pharmaceutical industries also hire production workers to produce medicine and medical equipment. Some production workers work in technology industries, manufacturing phones, laptops and other electronic devices.

Would working in manufacturing as a production worker suit your excellent physical skills? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a production worker role.

production worker jobs

average production worker salary

According to National Careers, the average salary of a production worker ranges from £17,000 to £24,000 per year. When you are new in the role with minimal experience, your earnings start at £17,000 per year. As you gain experience, your compensation package gradually increases to £24,000 yearly.

how to increase your salary as a production worker

The primary determinants of salaries are qualifications and experience. While production workers don't need post-secondary education, extra certifications in machine operations increase your compensation package. You can also negotiate a higher salary when you have valuable transferrable skills from working many years in the role. 

Some industries pay more due to the complexity of the role. For instance, if you work in the pharmaceutical industry, your earnings are slightly higher than manufacturing production workers. The types of goods the company manufactures may also influence your earnings. When you work in equipment or electronic manufacturing, the technical knowledge required in the role improves your salary prospects.

female production worker
female production worker

types of production workers

Some types of production workers include:

  • handlers: a handler is a production worker who packages finished products for shipping. Your job includes boxing items and stacking boxes on pallets to prepare them for moving to the warehouse. Sometimes, you pack containers and trucks using forklifts.
  • forklift operator: as a production worker, your job involves lifting heavy products or items using a forklift. You weigh the packages and use the forklift to organise them for shipping. If you load and offload the items onto the trucks, it is essential to ensure the goods have labels.
  • assembly-line worker: as an assembly-line worker, you assemble electronic or metal parts during the production process. You also monitor machines' functions to ensure they work properly.

working as a production worker

Working as a production worker involves creating tangible items that improve human lives. Discover more about the role, including duties, responsibilities and work schedules.


education and skills

Working as a production worker doesn't require educational qualifications. However, having post-secondary education improves your employment prospects. Some production workers join the role through an apprenticeship. For instance, you can pursue an intermediate apprenticeship programme in lean manufacturing. The apprenticeship takes 12 months and allows you to learn on the job as you study. GCSEs, including English and maths, are required. Prior work experience in factory settings equips you with the necessary skills for the role.

production worker skills and competencies

Production workers with industry-specific skills have a chance to bargain for a higher salary. If you want to succeed in this career, build on the following attributes:

  • strong communication skills: good communication skills are vital for any production worker. Employers require individuals who engage with their co-workers to troubleshoot production issues and work toward a common goal. Communication skills help you pass information effectively to your team members. Communication skills also make you an active listener.
  • attention to detail: speed and precision are vital in manufacturing. Carelessness and mistakes affect the entire production process, leading to defects and lost time. While operating the machines, mistakes endanger your life or that of your co-workers. Attentiveness to detail helps you avoid accidents and maintain health standards.
  • critical thinking: employers are looking for production workers who make sound decisions if unforeseen issues arise at work. Remember that supervisors will not always be present to resolve issues, so you should be able to find the best solutions for even complex problems.
  • aptitude for technology: technology is constantly changing the operations in the manufacturing industry. Employers require production workers who are interested in technology to handle advanced processes.
  • good concentration span: production workers work in a fast-paced environment, so it is vital to stay focused. Tasks can be highly repetitive, and a good concentration level will help maintain the quality of products.
  • physical stamina: production plants hire people with good physical skills since they work for long periods, lift items and sometimes stand throughout the shift, requiring a high level of stamina.
male production worker
male production worker


FAQs about working as a production worker

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