Pay to maintenance employees at American manufacturing facilities increased a mere 2.32 percent this year, its smallest rise since 2002, according to a national compensation survey and consulting firm in a data report compiled for Reliable Plant magazine.

How do you stack up?

In regard to maintenance pay, are you getting your fair share? Find out by receiving a free 2005 survey summary from Reliable Plant. This report includes all salary and pay increase/decrease figures delineated by:

- maintenance job title

- plant size (number of employees)

- region of the country

To obtain your free report, e-mail Reliable Plant editor Paul Arnold (parnold@noria.com) and type in "PAY SURVEY REQUEST" in the subject title.

Compdata Surveys of Olathe, Kan., collected employee pay and benefit data from 2,272 manufacturing companies this spring. These companies employ 1.38 million people in the United States, including 20,380 with job titles classified as “plant maintenance.” These titles include:

  • plant engineering manager

  • maintenance manager

  • senior maintenance supervisor

  • maintenance supervisor

  • senior maintenance electrician

  • senior maintenance mechanic

  • maintenance electrician

  • maintenance mechanic

Over the previous five years, pay to these maintenance workers annually increased an average of 4.05 percent. That includes jumps of 4.25 percent in 2000, 6.65 percent in 2001, 2.12 percent in 2002, 2.93 percent in 2003 and 3.09 percent in 2004. If 2002, a year of recessionary and post-9/11 fears, is not factored in, pay during this span of years rose 4.23 percent. What happened in 2005?

“Many manufacturing companies and their employees are concerned about the stability of pension plans and healthcare benefits. With the media keeping these issues at the forefront, conversations about compensation in manufacturing may remain more focused on the total compensation package, which includes benefits, rather than on base pay alone,” says Theresa Worman, the vice president of business development for Compdata Surveys.

Changes in pension plans in recent years involve the almost altogether abandonment of the “defined benefit” pensions earned by our fathers and grandfathers. Only 3.9 percent of manufacturers currently offer such plans as the sole means of retirement income. Instead, most (54 percent) opt for “defined contribution” plans such as the 401(k) and 403(b). A total of 36.6 percent offer a combination of both pension types.

Manufacturers also were hit hard by rising healthcare costs. No matter the type of coverage offered, manufacturers experienced increases greater than the average for all industries (see graphic below).

2005 PREMIUM INCREASES
NATIONAL AVERAGES
FOR MANUFACTURERS
NATIONAL AVERAGES
FOR ALL INDUSTRIES
TYPE OF PLAN
OFFERED
% OF
COMPANIES
W/INCREASE
AVERAGE
PERCENTAGE
INCREASE
% OF
COMPANIES
W/INCREASE
AVERAGE
PERCENTAGE
INCREASE
Indemnity
76.1
13.0
72.0
12.8
HMO
83.0
13.2
80.5
11.9
PPO
76.0
12.7
75.0
12.3
POS
82.6
13.9
78.6
12.3

Examining the numbers
So, manufacturers had to shift money around to fund benefit packages. What did that mean to your pay check?

Worman says manufacturers reported a 3.35 average pay increase budget for 2005. While maintenance workers were not on the plus side of that average, she says, “The pay rates we see for most maintenance positions reflect increases very close to that number.”

This year’s pay increases range from a respectable 3.56 percent for maintenance electricians to a flat 1.17 percent for senior maintenance supervisors and 1.18 percent for maintenance supervisors. Plant engineering managers and maintenance managers received raises of 2.77 and 2.25 percent, respectively.

In regard to salary, maintenance workers in the West Region of the U.S. fared best. Workers in this region received the highest average salary for six of the eight titles in the survey. These include:

plant engineering manager $88,505
senior maintenance supervisor $61,107
maintenance supervisor $51,250
senior maintenance electrician .$50,507
senior maintenance mechanic $43,911
maintenance electrician $41,267

The East Region had the top pay figure for maintenance managers ($70,734) and maintenance mechanics ($37,075).

West Region maintenance workers received an average pay increase of 3.94 percent in 2005. In comparison, the other regions saw increases of 3.16 (South), 2.04 (East) and 1.75 percent (Central).

“Geographic differences in pay are expected,” says Worman. “Not only can the cost of living affect pay in an area, but occasionally we will hear of shortages of a certain skill set in a region. Ideally, local, statewide and regional pay data can be analyzed when employers set pay rates.”

When the data is examined by plant size, maintenance workers in the West Region also generally came out ahead.

For plants with more than 1,000 total employees, the West had the top salary figure in six of the eight job classifications. For plants with 501 to 1,000 employees, the East led in three classifications. For plants with 201 to 500 employees, and for plants with 101 to 200 employees, the West led with six. For plants with up to 100 employees, the East led with two.

TITLE
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
Plant engineering
manager
$69,361
$73,170
$75,520
$78,394
$81,403
$83,659
Maintenance
manager
$57,464
$62,839
$64,936
$65,959
$66,936
$68,443
Senior maintenance supervisor
$49,648
$53,313
$55,457
$56,619
$58,000
$58,679
Maintenance
supervisor
$41,633
$46,795
$46,422
$47,397
$49,146
$49,727
Senior maintenance
electrician
$39,197
$40,955
$41,998
$43,723
$45,590
$46,662
Senior maintenance
mechanic
$35,745
$37,606
$38,531
$39,586
$40,996
$41,952
Maintenance
electrician
$34,109
$35,615
$36,027
$37,031
$38,246
$39,608
Maintenance
mechanic
$30,008
$32,024
$32,343
$33,712
$34,433
$35,460

 

TITLE
2000 pay vs. 1999
2001 pay vs. 2000
2002 pay vs. 2001
2003 Pay vs. 2002
2004 Pay vs. 2003
2005 Pay vs. 2004
Plant engineering
manager
7.56%
5.49%
3.21%
3.81%
3.84%
2.77%
Maintenance
manager
3.90%
9.35%
3.34%
1.58%
1.48%
2.25%
Senior maintenance supervisor
4.30%
7.38%
4.02%
2.10%
2.44%
1.17%
Maintenance
supervisor
3.94%
12.40%
-0.80%
2.10%
3.69%
1.18%
Senior maintenance
electrician
3.64%
4.49%
2.55%
4.11%
4.27%
2.35%
Senior maintenance
mechanic
3.68%
5.21%
2.46%
2.74%
3.56%
2.33%
Maintenance
electrician
4.50%
4.42%
1.16%
2.79%
3.28%
3.56%
Maintenance
mechanic
2.44%
4.42%
1.00%
4.23%
2.14%
2.98%

In regard to raises, for plants with more than 1,000 total employees, the South had the top pay increase in three of the eight job classifications. For plants with 501 to 1,000 employees, the South and West each led with three. For plants with 201 to 500 employees, and for plants with 101 to 200 employees, the West led with four. For plants with up to 100 employees, the Central led with two.

TITLE
Total Raise, 1000-1005
Average Annual Raise,
2000-'05
Total Pay Increase, 2000-'05
Plant engineering manager
20.61%
4.21%
$14,298
Maintenance manager
19.11%
3.82%
$10,979
Senior maintenance supervisor
18.19%
3.64%
$9,031
Maintenance supervisor
19.44%
3.89%
$8,094
Senior maintenance electrician
19.04%
3.81%
$7,465
Senior maintenance mechanic
17.36%
3.47%
$6,207
Maintenance electrician
16.12%
3.22%
$5,499
Maintenance mechanic
18.17%
3.63%
$5,452

By a combination of demographics, the five maintenance titles that did the best in 2005 were:

  1. Senior maintenance supervisor, West Region, plant with 101 to 200 total employees, pay increase of 24.86 percent

  2. Senior maintenance mechanic, South, 201 to 500 employees, 16.21%

  3. Plant engineering manager, South, 101 to 200 employees, 14.84%

  4. Maintenance mechanic, West, up to 100 employees, 13.73%

  5. Senior maintenance mechanic, East, up to 100 employees, 12.69%

The five maintenance titles that fared the worst this year were:

  1. Maintenance supervisor, Central, plant with up to 100 employees, pay decrease of 5.95 percent

  2. Senior maintenance mechanic, Central, 101 to 200 employees, -5.48%

  3. Senior maintenance electrician, Central, 501 to 1,000 employees, -4.63%

  4. Senior maintenance supervisor, Central, 101 to 200 employees, -4.61%

  5. Senior maintenance electrician, South, more than 1,000 employees, -4.44%

To purchase Compdata Surveys’ all-encompassing 2005 salary and benefit report, or to include your company in the next survey, visit www.compdatasurveys.com or call 800-300-9570.