Change in weighted average base salary rates 2005-2006

While salaries for a variety of salaried positions in the measurement, control, and automation industry rose just 3.8 percent over the past year as compared to 4.8% from 2004-2005, incentive compensation was up an average of 26.4 percent from the year prior, according to a salary survey performed by the Measurement Control and Automation Association (MCAA, www.measure.org).

Professionals from ABB, Emerson Process Management, Hach Company, Honeywell, Invensys/Foxboro, and Yokogawa participated in the survey. Incentive compensation increases ranged from 7.7 percent for product design and development employees to 42.5 percent for management level positions. Software personnel, for whom virtually no incentive compensation was reported last year, this year showed small incentives paid in most positions (although not to all incumbents). The number of positions where incumbents were paid commissions increased 70 percent, while the positions where incentives were paid increased 29 percent such that incumbents in 90 percent of all positions surveyed received some incentive payment. Similarly, incumbents in 56 percent of all positions received some commission payments.

MCAA’s 2006 salary survey includes the biennial Benefits Survey, which covered health, dental and life insurance, short and long-term disability benefits, retirement, benefits administration, work weeks, leave, part-time worker benefits, and special compensation. The survey showed that efforts to contain costs continued, with more companies turning to increased deductibles and higher out-of-pocket contributions to address rising healthcare costs. Orthodontic care seems to be declining as more companies than in the previous survey switched to carriers where such benefits are not available or are more limited. In short-term disability benefits, some companies have increased weekly benefits or reduced waiting periods to protect workers. All participating companies in this year’s report have some sort of retirement plan, and defined benefit plans continue to decline in popularity. While the minimum age for early retirement remained 57 years, the length of service for eligibility for early retirement decreased from 13 to 6 years. Additionally, more companies are indicating participation in multi-employer trusts for the administration of their benefits plans and fewer (78%, down from 88%) have their own benefits plan whether administered in-house or by a third party.

The trend toward undifferentiated leave continues whether as an allocation for sick and vacation leave or simply “personal time off” accounts. MCAA plans to modify the way leave is surveyed because of these changes from more traditional allocations for sick, vacation, personal, or holiday leave.

Finally, the movement toward electronics is demonstrated by the increase in the numbers of companies offering cell phones, computers and home Internet access to employees.

The MCAA survey is conducted each summer and published in September. Each of the jobs reported includes information on the numbers of companies matching the defined responsibilities, the lowest base rate reported by participants, the highest base rate reported, and the average base rate (both weighted and unweighted). The data is reported by company size wherever possible, showing the number of companies, the number of incumbents, and the range of percentiles (25-50-75). The weighted average base rate is shown by region (north, south, east and west) when possible. Incentive and commission averages with total compensation calculations are included along with the salary ranges as reported and averaged for the reporting companies. This year two nonmember companies also contributed data to the survey. For the other 40 participating MCAA members, the cost ($2000 for non-members) was included in the dues paid to the association. Every other year, the association also conducts a benefits survey.