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Is Capital Goods A Good Career Path?

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated December 17th, 2023

Considering a career in the capital goods industry? Below is everything you need to know about whether it is a good career and the different opportunities that are available for you.

What Are Capital Goods?

Capital goods are equipment and/or assets that are used to produce goods that other companies use to create their products.

The primary consumer of a capital good is a manufacturer or business.

Example: A homeowner that purchases a saw to use at home would be a consumer good. A business that purchases that same saw to use to create a table or chair for resale would categorize it as a capital good.

Capital goods can include the following:

  • Tools (large and small)
  • Machines
  • Buildings
  • Vehicles (trucks and or cars)
  • Construction Equipment

what is the capital goods industry?

The capital goods industry is all of the companies that create the capital goods that manufacturers need to create their final products. These capital goods are usually the more costly goods that companies need to create their final products. Some capital goods examples include items like tools, buildings, vehicles, machinery, or electrical equipment.

Essentially, capital goods are not goods that are finished and ready for sale – but are the vital equipment and products that are needed to make the finished products that companies can sell.

Capital goods play an important role in different industries all over the world making it strong career path.

Is Capital Goods A Good Career Path?

Yes, the capital goods industry is a good career path that can bring security, growth opportunities, good wages, and great benefits.

There is a high demand for employees to work in capital goods industries and many prefer capital goods jobs because of the security of these industries.

While other industries may face issues related to economics or world happenings, many capital goods sectors can remain strong even during trying times.

While no one can know for sure how many jobs exist in capital goods, based on what we know below – the opportunities are tremendous!

is capital goods a good career path like automotive

Capital Goods Sector Options

The capital goods sector is part of a lot of different industries from housing to automobiles and so much more. Capital goods are a critical part of the global supply chain.

Below are some of the main capital industry sectors you may work in if you choose this career path.

Steel Industry

Working in the steel industry will have you producing or recycling steel products. The manufacturing products they create can then be used in a variety of other sectors like automotive, railroads, construction, and more.

Electronics Industry

One of the largest industries, electronic industries can include the creation of electrical parts for many different industries.

For example, they can provide telecommunications goods for phone companies, electronic components for the automotive industry, or semiconductors for healthcare.

Automotive Industry

Building cars requires a ton of different capital goods. From the machinery that is used to put the pieces of a car together to the metal and components needed to build the car.

Machinery Industry

The machinery industry includes companies that manufactures heavy machinery that are used to create other items. For example a crane that is part of building a new condominium or it can be a mixer that a chef uses to create a cake for a customer to buy.

But if you use that mixer to make a cake for your own family, then that would NOT be a capital good!

Chemicals Industry

Items like paint, soap, natural gases, and cleaning products are chemicals that would be considered capital goods if they are purchased by a business to produce goods that people can buy. Natural gas, minerals, and oils also fall under this industry.

Textile Industry

Your favorite pair of jeans or that cotton tee all come from unfinished products like cotton, nylon, or wool. The textile industry creates fabrics, dyes, and other raw materials that can be used in a few different industries like clothing or housewares.

textiles used in capital goods industry

Capital Good Jobs

There are a variety of capital goods jobs, both in skilled trades as well as for those with a college degree. We will share some of the most popular skilled trade jobs in capital goods, then add a list of other opportunities for those with degrees.

If you are curious about what capital goods jobs pay, we have added some ranges as well!

Find out how many jobs are in capital goods if you are interested in finding out more about the number of opportunities.

Skilled Trade Careers

These careers do not require any advanced degrees, but might require some training or certification. They are all considered blue collar jobs, read our what does blue collar mean guide to learn more about the history of blue collar workers.

Many are considered part of the manufacturing sector which can be an exciting industry for those that love to build and create.

Warehouse Workers

Warehouse workers are an important part of any business. They are responsible for keeping the products stocked, preparing orders for shipping or delivery, and will unload and check in new product deliveries. A warehouse worker may make somewhere around $32K annually.

Metal Fabricator

Many companies will require skilled workers with exceptional welding skills. As a metal fabricator you may bend, cut, or assemble a variety of metals to make other products for customers to use in a final product. Metal fabricators or sheet metal workers have a median salary of $53,400 per year. Certification is usually required for this job.

Learn more about metal fabrication careers.

Quality Control Inspector

Quality control inspectors will review completed products for quality. This requires close examination of products or materials for flaws, discolorations, or other issues that do not meet specifications. A high school diploma is required, but there is no advanced degree needed in most cases. The median pay is $38,580, but the job outlook is not strong.

Production Worker

As a production worker you will be part of the production processes that are used to produce products. Production workers may work in a designated area and do some manual work as well as be responsible for data recording and tracking. These are typically hourly jobs and pay ranges are rather large. A general production worker may make $30-$40K a year.

Manufacturing Technician

Manufacturing technicians often work on a variety of machines to ensure they are in good working order. Whether a CNC machine, welding machines, or molding machines, the ultimate responsibility is to make sure they work as needed. While a 2 year degree is sometimes recommended, some do get into this job with no additional education. It is a growing field with a median salary of $60,220 per year.

Careers With A Degree

These careers do require at least a 4-year degree and would be the best paying jobs in capital goods. These are just a few examples, there are of course many more opportunities, like administrative, business development manager, sales, and so much more.

Electrical Engineering

In electrical engineering you would be responsible for the electrical systems within a company. This can include radars, communication systems or even power generation equipment. The job may require research, development, or testing of electrical components.

They might also purchase equipment to keep up with the latest technology. The pay for an electrical engineer can be $100K annually or more.

Quality Control Manager

As a quality control manager you will be primarily focused on making sure all products meet or exceed standards of quality as required by law or internal guidelines. A degree in engineering is required and comes with a large annual salary.


Senior mechanical engineers are one of the highest paid jobs in the capital goods industry due to the intense nature of the job. These are the people that design and develop the machines a manufacturer may need. Inspecting mechanical devices is also another big part of the job in mechanical engineering.

Manufacturing Engineer

Making sure all machinery is working is a critical part in capital goods. Manufacturing engineers will be responsible for troubleshooting, improving processes, and ensuring the production process is smooth.

Robotics Engineer

Keeping the manufacturing systems as automated as possible is important for developing products and creating profit. As a robotics engineer you might be responsible for designing automation tools, improving these tools, and ensuring safety requirements are met.

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers will be responsible for the design and implementation of products or the components used to make them.


The manufacturing manager is responsible for managing the operations of a manufacturing facility. From planning to directing staff, they can be responsible for the whole plant, or a specific area.

Check out our post on what capital goods jobs pay to learn more a about salaries.

Capital Goods Jobs Pros and Cons

As with every career path, there is always good and bad things to consider. It is no different for capital goods. Let’s break down some of the pros and cons of the industry as a while.


  • Salary. Many of the jobs in capital goods do offer higher than normal wages. Even for those with no degrees may find jobs that have a bit of a higher hourly rate than other jobs.
  • Benefits. Many of the companies that offer opportunities in capital goods are some of the biggest in the world. With this we usually find better than average benefits including healthcare benefits, life insurance, time off, etc.
  • Growth. Growth opportunities in larger companies are often readily available for those that work hard and improve their skills.
  • Training. These companies typically offer great training and sometimes even mentorships to help you be the best employee you can be.
  • Locations. With many of these companies having locations all over the world, there is an opportunity for you to move wherever you would like.


  • Injury. Some of the jobs can be a bit dangerous due to the machinery that is often used. They can overheat or you can be injured doing repairs. It is important that you use caution in your day to day work.
  • Technical. Many of the jobs in capital goods do require technical skills. While some jobs require no advanced degrees, it is still helpful to have very technical abilities.
  • Physical. These jobs are not for those that want to sit back. Most jobs will be very active and require standing or moving for much of the day.
  • Automation. The improvements in technology and automation can minimize the need for people to do the work. Especially those with no formal education.
  • Technology. Keeping up with the ever-changing technologies can be a challenge in terms of learning as well as financial.

5 Capital Goods Companies

If you are curious about the companies that hire employees in the capital goods industry, below are five of the largest.

These companies dominate the industry and have job opportunities that span many different sectors and skill levels.

Lockheed Martin

If working in the defense and aerospace industry appeals to you then Lockheed Martin may be a good fit. They create capital goods like air missiles, fire sensors, and other defense weapons. Their customers include a variety of US government agencies.

With great benefits and a growing sector – this is a great company to consider for job seekers.

Caterpillar Inc.

One of the largest construction equipment companies in the world, Caterpillar is a capital goods company that provides products to a variety of industries. They produce construction and mining equipment as well as other goods for the construction, transportation, and mining industries.

They offer employees a great package of benefits and with offices all over the world, you can work just about anywhere your heart desires.


A big player in the chemicals industry, 3M is a leading producer of adhesives, abrasives, paint protection films, and so much more. Their line of products is used to create medical, automative, and dental products just to name a few.

They are located in over 80 countries and offer a good benefits package.

Northrup Grunman

Like Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grunman specializes in creating products for the aerospace and defense industry. They create products like satellites, stealth bombers, and chain guns that are supplied to various companies and US agencies.

A strong benefits package and locations around the United States make this company another great option.

Honeywell International

Honeywell International produces a large variety of products used in many different sectors. From automotive items to specialty chemicals, their production line is vast. You may work on fire safety products or sensors to monitor temperatures – there is no limit to what you may do if you work for this company.

Great benefits and one of the oldest companies on this list help ensure your career path is a stable one.

So, is capital goods a good career path? I think you will find after reading this article that it is!

There are so many opportunities in the capital goods industry and some of the best companies in the world offer jobs for workers of all levels with some great paying jobs.

Are you ready to kick start your career in the capital goods sector?

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.