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

Over the last five years of Modern’s salary survey, the average age of the respondent has climbed predictably from 47 to 52. With experience comes better compensation. In 2009, 25% of the survey’s respondents reported earning base salaries of six figures or more. In 2012, that number rose to 30%, with 8% earning $150,000 or more. Fewer employees have faced wage decreases since 2009, when one in 10 respondents saw their salaries reduced by an average of 15% year over year. However, the stakes remain high as just 4% saw decreases averaging 19% in 2012.

Those with supervisory responsibilities can expect to earn 36% more than their non-supervisor colleagues, as compared to the 28% gap between the two groups as captured in last year’s results. Similarly, those with budgetary responsibilities will earn 39% more than those without. Supervisor salaries increased an average of 4.5%, whereas the average salary for a non-supervisor fell by slightly more than 1%. This results in an average base salary of $89,760 for 2012, a 12.3% increase from 2011, while the median salary fell 5.6% to $75,500.

Modern’s first salary survey, published in June 2008, showed median compensation at $80,000, including base salary and bonuses. After that median number dipped as low as $78,000 in 2009 and 2010, it shot back up to $91,000 in 2011, only to settle back at $80,500 this year. The last five years have been difficult for many materials handling professionals, including Dwayne Denton, supply chain manager for Mississippi Sand, a producer and distributor of frac sand for use in the oil and gas service industry.

Denton is working on completing his MBA, as 11% of this year’s survey respondents have already done. Like 77% of respondents, Denton has been with his company for more than 10 years, since before it broke off from its former owner. Back then, he was coordinating the movement of bulk items like asphalt and limestone, and the recession hit very hard. Dwayne survived three layoffs including union and non-union workers, salary reductions from workers to upper management, and a salary freeze that kept his earnings level for more than four years. He finally got a raise this year, and says it was all worth it.

“I’m still trying to recover financially, but I would not have weathered the storm if I were not very happy,” says Denton. “Other than salary, I’m very satisfied. The challenge is awesome. Your customer needs material and you’ve got to figure out how to make it happen. It’s stressful, but it’s the kind of stress I like.”


About the Author

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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