Modern’s 5th Annual Salary Survey

Companies are increasingly rewarding hard work by key players in an effort to not only keep them around, but keep them happy.
By Josh Bond, Senior Editor
September 01, 2012 - MMH Editorial

Since numbers rarely tell the whole story, we reached out to a random sampling of our survey respondents to get a sense of the people behind the statistics, and to seek their insight into the past, present and future of the materials handling industry job market. According to Ryan O’Connor, warehouse operations and logistics manager for a consumer electronics distributor serving 150 countries, the future is bright indeed.

“Opportunity abounds in this industry,” says O’Connor, who predicts salaries will go nowhere but up. “You have the opportunity to save or cost your company huge money. If you can raise your hand and say: ‘This is what I can do for you. Give me a shot,’ then the sky’s the limit.”

The compensation picture
Thankfully, hiring is much more robust than it was a few years ago, and layoffs have declined sharply. In 2009, 65% of respondents said their company had conducted layoffs or hiring freezes in the previous year. Only 28% were hiring at that time, and just 5% noted pay cuts or salary freezes. For 2012, pay cuts, salary freezes, hiring freezes, benefits reductions, and reduced overtime were more commonly used, with roughly a third of respondents responding affirmatively to each. The good news, aside from a 9% year-over-year drop in respondents whose companies saw layoffs (down to 28% in 2012), is that in almost every case pay-cutting tactics were used 6% less than in 2011, when just 46% said their companies were hiring. This year, that hiring number climbed to 55%.

This year, 58% of respondents said their salary increased in the past year, and 38% said it stayed the same. In our 2010 survey, those figures were reversed. In 2012, the average base salary increase was 5.2%, an improvement upon last year’s 60% of respondents whose salaries increased an average of 4.4% between 2010 and 2011. Of those respondents who saw a salary increase last year, one in eight received increases of 10% or more.

Bonus plans reflect a shifting focus from operational costs and increased sales to the overall performance of the company and that of the individual. In 2009, 47% of respondents indicated bonuses were based primarily on lower operational costs and 45% said they were rewarded based on increased sales. In 2012, those factors were a source of bonus compensation for just 28% and 29% of respondents, respectively. Instead, 69% of respondents now indicated that bonuses are based on whether their company reaches performance goals, and 46% said it is based on individual performance. As late as 2010, those factors rang true for just 18% and 5% of respondents, respectively.

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About the Author

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Josh Bond
Senior Editor

Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.


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