Strategic management is a growing industry. Companies are always looking for beitter ways to implement plans and save on costs. Companies that can meet their goals and objectives are usually more successful. Strategic management is a continuous process that is always evolving to find better solutions. It is no wonder then that this growing industry is creating more and more jobs.
One such strategic management method that is currently popular is Six Sigma, also known as Lean Six Sigma. With the number of companies that use Six Sigma, the opportunities for Six Sigma careers are plentiful. The sector is currently on the rise, partly due to the state of the economy.
Companies determined to cut costs while improving productivity are always searching for qualified employees with the proper training. Six Sigma is definitely viewed an asset on any resume. Self-confidence, high motivation, and a working understanding of Six Sigma principles are highly sought after.
What Is Six Sigma?
Six Sigma, at the basic level, is a type of quality control but much more detailed. It accomplishes its goals by implementing a set of quality control methods that is supervised by a set of skilled personnel that troubleshoots the process. By improving production, Six Sigma seeks to reduce costs associated with waste. It is used around the world and is regarded as one of the major systems for TQM (Total Quality Management). What sets Six Sigma apart is that it uses data to make decisions instead of guesswork.
Quality control systems have been around for a long time. While Six Sigma shares many traits with other systems, many of its methods are different. It focuses on achieving attainable financial returns from any project that uses the Six Sigma method. It emphasizes strong management support at various levels in the company. Six Sigma uses specifically trained employees with extensive knowledge of Six Sigma principles to oversee production. These trained employees are divided into levels such as Champions, Black Belts, master Black Belts, Green Belts, and (in some companies) Yellow Belts.
Black Belts oversee Green Belts who oversee non-Six Sigma trained personnel. Black Belts answer to Master Black Belts who answer to Champions. Each level requires additional training and job experience.
Ideal Six Sigma candidates normally have strong analytical and organizational skills. Black Belts focus more on problem-solving and decision-making aspects. Their jobs are completely devoted to ensuring Six Sigma principles are evenly applied to their department.
Green Belts are responsible for data-collecting and analysis of that data. They report to Black Belts and may even work in teams with other Green Belts. Green Belts work at Six Sigma duties along with their normal job tasks.
Lean Six Sigma Jobs and Career Opportunities
Lean Six Sigma jobs and careers can be found in just about every type of industry. Six Sigma can be applied to manufacturing, human resources, services, and just about any kind of business with production.
Management positions are usually where Six Sigma certification comes in handy. Black Belt levels in particular are highly sought after due to their skills at managing company projects. Going through training and receiving your certification makes you more marketable in many industries.
Finding Six Sigma Jobs
Six Sigma-based jobs are everywhere. Most of the career search engines on the internet have numerous listings. Just do a search for ‘Six Sigma’ or “Lean Six Sigma” and see what comes up. Jobs are available at various levels from Green Belts all the way to Master Black Belts. Black Belts in particular are in demand.
It helps to have some Six Sigma experience when searching for a Six Sigma career. Candidates who have just received their certification but have not had a chance to use it will be at a disadvantage to candidates who have completed at least one or two projects in their field.
More Six Sigma Training
To improve your chances of finding a Six Sigma job, you could always get additional training. If you have a Green Belt but are looking for something better, then take a training course to become a Black Belt. Even if you don’t have a few completed projects under your belt, the additional knowledge looks good on a resume.
In order to become a higher belt, you have to take a training course. These courses are offered by individual companies and consultants, trade schools, and even universities. The courses can last anywhere from a week or two if you take it through a private company or a couple of months if taken at the university level.
If your company uses Six Sigma methodology, you can ask your supervisor about applying for more training. Your company may even pay for it. If not, or they do not use Six Sigma in their business, then you will have to take a course on your own. Once the course is completed, all candidates have to pass a written exam comprised of multiple-choice questions.
The three main certification levels for Six Sigma are Green Belts, Black Belts, and Master Black Belts. To graduate to the next color of belt, you have to not only go through the training but you have to properly implement the skills and principles in the projects you are involved in.
Each training course is separated by one month. This allows time for candidates to set up projects in which to practice the new skills they have learned.
Salaries for Six Sigma
Statistics have shown that employees who have received certification in Six Sigma tend to earn a slightly higher salary than non-Six Sigma employees in the same industry. In the U.S., the average salary for a Six Sigma Black Belt in 2007 was $81,500. The low end of the spectrum was around $64,000. The high end of the spectrum was $98,000. Of course, average salaries were dependent on factors such as size of the company, type of industry, employee skills, and years of employment.