If you find yourself at that stage in life where you are trying to figure out how to choose the right career path, you should remember that picking the right industry is often just as important as picking the right profession.
For example, consider how different the career path of a car salesperson is from that of a medical sales representative. The former works in consumer durables, and the latter in non-durables.
So, is consumer durables a good career path? For most job seekers, yes, it absolutely is.
The industry offers a wide range of job roles across different fields at some of the most renowned companies in the world. If you are looking for a mainstream and secure career path in a major industry, getting a job at a consumer durables company is one of your best options.
Consumer durables is a $3 trillion industry that encompasses a broad range of commodities that stay with buyers for a long time. It includes a wide variety of products, from furniture to computers, including a number of high-ticket items like automobiles and jewelry. In fact, most of the manufactured products you own fall under the category of consumer durables.
Moreover, the purchase of consumer durables is considered a sound indicator of the economic strength of a country. A decline in the purchase of durables is one of the first prominent effects of a recession, and economists always keep a close eye on this industry.
But of course, all that doesn't settle the question: is consumer durables a good career path? In this article, we discuss some more aspects of jobs in durables that you should take into consideration for making an informed career decision. You might also want to read How to Find Your Passion in Life for a Rewarding Career.
The commodities that are purchased by end users, or customers like you and me rather than businesses, are called consumer goods. Consumer goods are grouped into two categories – consumer non-durables and consumer durables.
Consumer non-durables are those items that are used up quickly, like food and beverages, personal care products, cleaning products, and so on. Consumer durables, on the other hand, last for a relatively long time and include items like home appliances, electronic devices, furniture, automobiles, jewelry, and so forth.
There are two broad subcategories in consumer durables – white goods and brown goods. White goods are consumer electronics like computers, cameras, speakers, etc. Brown goods are home appliances like washing machines, air conditioners, blenders, etc.
The U.S. Department of Commerce defines consumer durables as consumer goods that last at least three years. And because they last a long time, consumer durables are purchased less frequently by customers as compared to non-durables. Durables are usually a lot more expensive than non-durables, and increased expenditure on durables is taken to be an indicator of economic growth. People avoid buying durables during economic low times, and during a recession, there is a significant drop in the purchase of durables.
As of May 2023, consumer durables employed more than 3 million people. The industry is driven by changing customer preferences and technological advancements, and there is a constant demand for people who are good at what they do.
Technology-based products, such as mobile phones and home appliances, make up a huge part of consumer durables. Due to this, there are plenty of jobs available for tech professionals in this sector. An engineer looking for a job, for example, is most likely to have several durables companies like HP and Samsung on their list of preferred companies. As per the BLS, jobs in computer science and technology will grow by 13% by 2030. And over the decade, 5,300 openings for computer hardware engineers are projected every year, which is one of the most in-demand professions in the industry.
Besides engineers and IT professionals, the sector also offers plenty of job opportunities for professionals in the business side of things. There are numerous job opportunities in fields like marketing, business analysis, and accounts in consumer durables, both in starter-level and experienced roles.
The sector is known for frequent innovation, and new editions of consumer durables products come out almost every year. This is mainly due to the cutthroat competition in the sector, for instance, between Apple and Samsung. Customers, particularly in developed countries, keep purchasing consumer durables products year after year, making it a high-demand industry. This means that as long as the economy is doing well, employment opportunities in the industry will keep growing.
As such, there is no industry trend in consumer durables that makes the salary parameters different from other industries. The consumer durables industry is just like any other industry in that the amount of money you earn is predominantly based on factors like your specific job role, your work experience, the company, the location, and so on.
There are many renowned companies in the industry, and it is not uncommon for employees to be making six figures.
Electrical engineers at Apple can earn up to $171,406, while financial analysts earn $171,406 a year. (Source: Glassdoor)
A full-stack developer (which is a very popular profession today) is paid $163,832 a year at Sony. (Source: Glassdoor)
A computer hardware engineer is one of the most in-demand roles in the industry, and most companies pay really well for this role. The estimated median salary for a computer hardware engineer at Lenovo, for instance, is $170,395 (Source: Glassdoor).
As you can see, the pay for jobs in durables is quite lucrative. However, high salaries are typically reserved for experienced professionals. If you are trying to get a job without any experience, you should consider various online courses and certifications to improve your credentials.
Below are listed ten jobs that tend to be the best paid in the durables industry. Take note, though, that these may vary greatly from company to company.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $95,896) - Source: Glassdoor
A strategy consultant is a professional who provides strategic advice and guidance to senior management and executive teams to help them navigate complex problems and achieve business objectives.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $73,494) - Source: Glassdoor
A media planner is a professional who helps an organization determine what media channels to use for advertising and suggests ways to optimize the efficiency of its advertising campaigns.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $72, 257) - Source: Glassdoor
A product marketer specializes in developing and executing marketing strategies for a product and plays a critical role in the product’s success in the market.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $65,047) - Source: Glassdoor
A product developer oversees the process of developing new products or creating new ones to meet customer needs better.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $76,628) - Source: Glassdoor
A business analyst closely observes facts and figures to identify improvements in a business and helps implement them, typically through different data analytics models.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $79,388) - Source: Glassdoor
A database administrator is an IT specialist who is responsible for managing and maintaining databases securely in an organization.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $60,722) - Source: Glassdoor
A car sales representative is a sales professional who works at a car dealership to sell cars to customers while helping them choose the right car.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $66,827) - Source: Glassdoor
A computer engineer specializes in designing, developing, testing, and maintaining different computer hardware.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $82,877) - Source: Glassdoor
An electronics engineer designs, develops, tests, and supervises the manufacturing of different electric devices and systems.
(Average annual salary in the U.S. - $77,262) - Source: Glassdoor
A mechanical engineer is a professional who combines the principles of math, physics, and material science to develop mechanical systems and designs.
Here is a list of some of the most well-known companies in the consumer durables field.
Based in California, U.S.A., Apple is the largest technology company in the world by revenue. They are known for making cutting-edge products and being pioneers of innovation. Their most well-known products are smartphones, computers, and related accessories. They have a very loyal customer base, and with their iconic iPhone, they have emerged as a leader in the mobile phone market. They have offices in more than 500 countries. They employ about 154,000 people.
Headquartered in Yeouido, Seoul, South Korea, LG Electronics is a multinational electronics company, best known for making home appliances and televisions. They also make smartphones, washing machines, refrigerators, and audio systems. The company has various business divisions and, since its commencement in 1958, has become a leading technology company. LG employs more than 34,645 people.
Samsung is a multinational technology company that mainly makes smartphones, tablets, monitors, televisions, home appliances, and more. Right now, it is most popular for its smartphones. The most successful products in their home appliance portfolio include air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines. In addition to these, Samsung offers a wide range of consumer electronics, including QLED and Micro LED televisions, soundbars, smart home devices, and home theater systems. They employ nearly 266,673 people.
Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate mostly known for making entertainment technology products. Sony Pictures Entertainment has made several world-famous movies and TV shows. They operate in multiple industries, including electronics, entertainment, gaming, and financial services. They make televisions, gaming consoles, cameras, headphones, audio systems, smartphones, and other consumer electronics. Sony employs more than 109,000 people around the world.
Headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Philips is a multinational technology company that makes a wide range of electronics. Consumer electronics, healthcare, and lighting solutions are its main business divisions. The company is mostly known for its lighting solutions, which include, LED lighting, connected lighting systems, and professional lighting solutions. Its consumer electronics portfolio includes electric shavers, kitchen appliances, audio and video equipment, and smart home solutions. In healthcare, it makes medical imaging systems, diagnostic tools, and patient monitoring devices. The company employs about 80,000 people across 100 countries.
Lenovo is one of the largest manufacturers of personal computers in the world. Besides personal computers (laptops and desktops), the company also makes tablets, smartphones, workstations, servers, and other electronics. It also has a strong presence in the data center and enterprise solutions market as well. Lenovo’s data center solutions cater to both small-scale businesses and large enterprises. The company operates globally, serving customers in different parts of the world. They employ about 75,000 people.
Headquartered in Quingo, China, Hair is a multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company. It is one of the world’s leading companies in the home appliance industry. It offers a wide range of household appliances and consumer electronics, including refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, air conditioners, microwave ovens, and televisions. It also makes computers, mobile phones, and various small kitchen appliances. Hair has also expanded into the smart home and Internet of Things space. Hair employs about 109,586 people.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, HP is a multinational information technology company that specializes in making personal computers, printers (including 3D printers), and other computer hardware. They make all kinds of personal computers from basic laptops to high-end gaming machines. Their hardware product portfolio primarily includes monitors, keyboards, printers, scanners, and related products like ink and toner cartridges. They also make software systems for data analytics, content management, and automation. The company has about 58,000 employees.
Adidas is a leading global sportswear brand that makes a wide range of athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories. Adidas offers a diverse product line for various sports and activities, including running, football, tennis, basketball, and more. The company’s products are known to blend style with functionality and are regarded not only as sportswear but as trendy and fashionable streetwear as well. Adidas often collaborates with designers, artists, and celebrities to make limited-edition products that resonate with fashion-forward customers. Adidas employs about 57016 people.
Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, General Motors is an American multinational company that makes cars, SUVs, and trucks. Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac are the most popular brands of the company. Chevrolet mostly makes sports cars and pickup trucks, and GMC focuses on trucks, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. Meanwhile, Buick and Cadillac focus on making luxury cars. For the past couple of years, General Motors has also been making electric vehicles. The company employs about 167,000 people.
Other prominent companies in the industry are Panasonic, Microsoft, Ford, Ikea, Dell, Nike, and more. As you can see, it is a pretty diverse industry with all sorts of companies, however, the mentioned organizations should give you a pretty decent idea of what companies are in the consumer non-durables field.
And who wouldn't want to work at one of these? Oftentimes, the company you work for is as big a factor in determining job satisfaction as your profession. So, if you are looking for a corporate job, make sure you don’t forget any of these companies. And, in case you hate your job and are considering a switch in careers, maybe you should try changing companies first. The mentioned companies are all known for their superb work culture, lucrative pay, and competitive benefits.
Working in durables has all the benefits that come with working in a major industry.
But, ultimately whether consumer durables is a good career path for you or not depends mainly on your specific job role and the company you work for. So, first of all, you need to choose the right profession for yourself.
And if you are already a qualified professional, now you just need to find the right company. Different companies in consumer durables come with different merits and demerits, and one company in the industry can be completely different from another. On websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, you can not only check out the salary and benefits at different companies in consumer durables but also find out about the work culture and see if it is in line with your values.
Make sure to write a well formatted and professional resume and cover letter to increase your chances of getting into the company of your choice. Keep a keen eye on job boards and company websites for new job openings. Also, make full use of your LinkedIn profile to connect with professionals in the industry for valuable insights and information.