Changing Sectors in Quality Management

Hi ASQ Community, I am a quality manager in a small manufacturing company dealing with construction materials. I have been in the sector for the past 5 years, and I like it. I have desired to venture into other sectors like food and beverage, pharmaceuticals or service delivery as a quality management professional. My belief is that exposure to different sectors will help me understand a wide range of business dynamics and enhance my capabilities of providing solutions as a quality professional. However, I have wondered whether there is such flexibility in the profession, and if so how do those who have achieved this gone about it? I'll appreciate any personal experiences, suggestions and thoughts.

4 Replies

@Dominic Mwata. I am in 7 different sectors. All of them provide different value to me in both my professional and personal life. It is also a good way to network. I have learned much through these other teams and actively support several in different ways. I encourage you to try it. The content is usually quite good.

Hi Dominic,
every sector has their reality(ies) but also their regulations and so, a lot of reading and studying to do. If your are up for it, the industry will be happy to have you I am sure.

@Dominic Mwata
Roughly 2 years ago, I switched sectors from medical device to construction management. Covid rearranged many of my priorities in life and I found myself looking for a position closer to home with greater flexibility and balance. The tradeoff was I needed to open myself to positions that were outside of my “home” industry. Here's a mix of some things I knew going in, and some I learned along the way:

  • Depending on industry, be prepared for a significant increase in the amount of regulations you need to become familiar with. Going from an ISO 9001 certified general manufacturer that only sells domestically to a life science company producing class III medical devices globally is a big difference, so…
  • Be prepared to take a step back title and responsibility-wise in your new position. You'll need some time to learn your new sector from the inside.
  • Be prepared to answer the question of why you are willing to take what might seem to a hiring manager like a step back in your career.
  • Some of the skills you've acquired (e.g. CAPA, QMS, NC) will largely translate across sector. As an entry, try to find a position that focuses on some core quality professional competencies without requiring a deep knowledge of the market/regulations.
Janet Lentz
113 Posts

I seamlessly moved from bulk chemicals to semiconductor to construction materials to aerospace. The skill set is the same. In fact, working in quality may be the closest to job security you can get. Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs outside of the industry you are working in.