Signs of economic turnaround are evident in the quality profession, according to the 24th annual salary survey conducted by Quality Progress (QP), the American Society for Quality’s monthly flagship publication. The overall average salary for U.S. full-time quality professionals is now $85,289, a steady increase from $83,442 in 2009 and $81,064 in 2008. The salary increase is seen this year, just as apparent demand for quality management is surging, as evidenced by ASQ’s online Career Center. For all the survey details, visit the QP Web site at www.qualityprogress.com.

As in past surveys, 2010 survey results also show that respondents’ salaries increase as their experience in the quality field increases:

  • Quality professionals with more than 20 years of experience earned an average of $94,756.
  • Professionals with 10 to 20 years of experience earned on average $86,993.
  • Those with 10 or fewer years of experience earned on average $71,129.

Specific job categories combined with years of experience also continue to have a significant impact on salary increases. For example, quality managers with more than 20 years of quality experience earn, on average, $4,000 more than managers with 10-20 years of quality experience. These experienced managers (20+ years) also earn over $12,000 more than managers with 10 or fewer years of quality experience.

A first-time comprehensive analysis of the last four years of salary surveys also shows some positive labor trends. Only 3.1 percent of respondents to the 2010 survey said they were unemployed, retired or laid off compared to 4.9 percent of 2009 respondents. More 2010 respondents also reported that their companies didn’t have to make moves such as furloughs, layoffs or hiring freezes to weather the sputtering economy.

Certifications Can Mean Cash

This year, 59 percent of survey respondents reported that they have one or more ASQ certifications, and 25 percent said they hold two or more ASQ certifications. While certifications and training enable quality professionals to gain new skills and proficiencies, they can also greatly increase a quality professional’s earning power.

Managers who are ASQ Certified Managers of Quality/Organizational Excellence reported they earn a higher average salary than their counterparts without this certification. In the United States, the difference is $7,938. In Canada, the difference is $3,274.

Auditors who are Certified Quality Auditors make on average $15,451 more than those auditors who are not certified. In Canada, the difference is $12,839.

The top ASQ certifications are Certified Quality Auditor (CQA) and Certified Quality Engineer (CQE).

The value of Six Sigma training has also held up well over the past several years. In particular, those in the United States with Master Black Belt (MBB) training earned a premium of more than $20,000 compared to those who stopped at Black Belt training.

“We are encouraged that quality professionals are gaining ground in terms of the recognition they are receiving for contributions to improving their organizations’ bottom lines,” said Paul Borawski, CEO of ASQ. “It’s clear that ASQ certifications and training provide a professional credibility and marketability that is helping quality professionals to gain a competitive edge in a volatile economy.”

This recent survey underscores that while quality professionals have not been immune to the economic recession, there are an expanding number of opportunities for professional growth.

For 24 years, ASQ has released its annual salary survey, an indicator of the health of the quality profession using salary results. The survey breaks down salary information, submitted by ASQ members, into 24 categories such as job title, education, years of experience, and geographic location. A total of 5,348 responses were received this year, the vast majority coming from professionals who work in the United States and Canada.

About ASQ
ASQ (www.asq.org) is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India and Mexico.