Maintenance pay raises gained ground

Paul V. Arnold, Noria Corporation
Tags: maintenance and reliability

Pay to maintenance employees at American manufacturing facilities increased an average of 2.9 percent this year, an improvement from the 2.32 percent average increase received in 2005 but still a step under the threshold 3 percent generally expected by U.S. laborers, according to a national research and consulting firm in a data report compiled for Reliable Plant magazine.

Compdata Surveys of Olathe, Kan., collected employee pay and benefit data from 2,224 manufacturing companies this spring. These companies employ 1.32 million people in the United States, including 18,606 with job titles tightly defined as "plant maintenance." The titles for the Reliable Plant study include:

 

 

  • maintenance mechanic

     

     

    Average maintenance pay increases have climbed over the 3 percent barrier just once since 9/11. That occurred in 2004, when the figure was 3.09 percent. With U.S. manufacturers generally experiencing solid financial results over the past 18 months, the prospectus of average-or-better payouts was very good. Even though the final figures came in slightly under the benchmark, the trend is still moving in a positive direction.

     


    "I think the outlook is very good," says Theresa Worman, the vice president of business development for Compdata Surveys. "Most American manufacturers are optimistic as they look toward 2007. Certainly healthcare costs continue to affect companies. It's not something employers are talking about openly, but large companies, especially those with a unionized workforce, are concerned about the cost of benefits."

     

    Recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor shows total compensation for unionized workers in goods-producing industries is 40.6 percent higher than for non-union workers. Total benefits are 82.8 percent higher, including 117.8 percent higher for insurance benefits.

    As a whole, the Compdata findings show maintenance professionals are getting a more equitable share of the pay increases. In 2005, manufacturers reported an average pay increase budget for employees of 3.35 percent. Maintenance got 2.32 percent, a figure that is 56 percent of the overall average. This year, the pay increase budget was 3.42 percent. Maintenance got 2.9, which is 82 percent of the average. Worman predicts manufacturer pay increase budgets will be 3.41 percent in 2007.

    "The compensation pie is only so big. Yes, companies will look at how to best distribute those funds to achieve the corporate goals," says Worman. "No matter what situation that you are in - whether you are going through layoffs or in a recruiting and hiring mode - the most important thing is to hold on to your best employees."

    Considering the shortage of skilled workers in industry, retaining top maintenance talent makes good business sense.

     

    WEST IS BEST

    Maintenance pay increases for 2006 range from a formidable 3.81 percent for plant engineering managers and 3.23 percent for senior maintenance mechanics to a subpar 2.21 percent for maintenance mechanics and 2.28 percent for maintenance electricians. In the middle were senior maintenance electricians (3.14 percent), maintenance managers (2.89), senior maintenance supervisors (2.82) and maintenance supervisors (2.78).

    In regard to salary, maintenance workers in the West Region of the U.S., as usual, fared best. Workers here had the highest average salary for six of the eight titles in the survey - plant engineering manager ($92,026), senior maintenance supervisor ($63,160), maintenance supervisor ($53,442), senior maintenance electrician ($52,584), senior maintenance mechanic ($45,707) and maintenance electrician ($42,198). The East had the top pay figure for maintenance managers ($72,235) and maintenance mechanics ($37,800). The South had the lowest average pay for seven titles - maintenance manager ($68,508), senior maintenance supervisor ($58,898), maintenance supervisor ($49,237), senior maintenance electrician ($46,064), senior maintenance mechanic ($41,606), maintenance electrician ($38,190) and maintenance mechanic ($34,223).

    West maintenance workers received an average pay increase of 3.53 percent in 2006. In comparison, the other regions saw increases of 3.17 percent (Central), 2.76 (East) and 1.86 (South).

    When the data is examined by plant size, maintenance workers in the West also generally came out ahead. For plants with more than 5,000 total employees, the West had the top salary figure in five of the eight job classifications.

    For plants with 1,001 to 5,000 employees, the West led in four classifications. For plants with 501 to 1,000 employees, the West and East each had top figures in four classifications. For plants with 201 to 500 employees, the West led with seven. For plants with 101 to 200 employees, the East led with six. For plants with up to 100 employees, the East and West led with two.

    In regard to the percentage of raises over 2005 salary figures, for plants with 1,001 to 5,000 employees, the West led in four classifications. For plants with 501 to 1,000 employees, the West and East each had top figures in three classifications. For plants with 201 to 500 employees, the West and Central led with three. For plants with 101 to 200 employees, the Central led with five. For plants with up to 100 employees, the Central and West led with two. No data was available for "more than 5,000 employees" because the category was added to this year's report for Reliable Plant.



    RAISES: HIGH FIVE, LOW FIVE

    By a combination of demographics, the five maintenance titles that did the best in 2006, in terms of of average pay raises, were:

     

    1. Senior maintenance supervisor, East Region, plant with 501 to 1,000 total employees, pay increase of 13.9 percent

       

       

    2. Maintenance manager, West, up to 100 employees, 12.88%

       

       

    3. Senior maintenance electrician, East, 101 to 200 employees, 12.56%

       

       

    4. Maintenance supervisor, South, up to 100 employees, 11.92%

       

       

    5. Senior maintenance supervisor, Central, 101 to 200 employees, 11.47%

     

    The five maintenance titles that fared the worst this year, based on raises, were:

     

    1. Maintenance electrician, South, plant with up to 100 employees, pay decrease of 4.51 percent

       

       

    2. Senior maintenance electrician, Central, 201 to 500 employees, -3.99%

       

       

    3. Maintenance supervisor, East, 101 to 200 employees, -3.87%

       

       

    4. tie, maintenance manager, South, 1,001 to 5,000 employees, and senior maintenance electrician, West, 1,001 to 5,000 employees, -3.82%

     

     

    PAY: HIGH FIVE, LOW FIVE

    The five maintenance titles at the top of the average pay scale in 2006 were:

     

    1. Plant engineering manager, West, plant with 201 to 500 employees, $92,354

       

       

    2. Plant engineering manager, East, 501 to 1,000 employees, $91,163

       

       

    3. Plant engineering manager, East, 1,001 to 5,000 employees, $90,409

       

       

    4. Plant engineering manager, West, 501 to 1,000 employees, $88,958

       

       

    5. Plant engineering manager, East, 201 to 500, $87,475

     

    The five titles at the bottom were:

     

    1. Maintenance mechanic, South, plant with more than 5,000 employees, $33,412

       

       

    2. Maintenance mechanic, South, 101 to 200 employees, $34,254

       

       

    3. Maintenance mechanic, South, up to 100 employees, $34,355

       

       

    4. Maintenance mechanic, South, 501 to 1,000 employees, $34,724

       

       

    5. Maintenance mechanic, South, 201 to 500 employees, $34,757

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