MCAA Compensation Report offers salary information for the control and automation industry

Source: MCAA

Oct 05, 2010

It comes as no surprise that MCAA members employed fewer people during 2010. When compared to the average over the past five years, the incumbent base for this report is down 25%. All compensation categories showed a decrease in value from 2009 with an average change from all positions averaging 5.2%. Hardest hit for salaries were Software Personnel where average salaries were down 11%, incentive/commission compensation was down 66% and the incumbent base was down 43%. Least affected by the adjustments to salaries were Product Design and Development personnel where salaries averaged only a scant .8% decrease.

MCAA has reported previously that companies in the measurement, control and automation industry appeared to be replacing more experienced employees with less seasoned workers. It would appear from the data that those younger, newer employees were ones that were outplaced during the economic downturn.

As a caveat as to comparability, readers should note several key things about this report:

  1. Although the total number of companies participating in the report remained constant, 17% of the reporting population of companies changed — that is nine companies participating this year while nine others elected not to contribute data. It should be noted that some companies that did not report specifically indicated that their HR professionals were carrying a heavier workload or wearing multiple hats.
  2. The business downturn which started in 2008 continued throughout 2009 and into 2010 resulted in salary freezes, wage reductions and layoffs. This had a significant impact on the base rates and incentive compensation reported in 2009 as well as the employee count as noted above.

With these thoughts in mind, however, MCAA also feels that — over the many years of this study — MCAA has seen a reasonable consistency in the data, despite the changing mix of participating companies year to year and MCAA feels that largely pertains this year as well. In the General Compensation section, MCAA learned the following about the participating companies:

  • The participating companies reported a total employee population of 7,994 including both salaried and hourly workers. This is down significantly from the 16,336 reported in 2009. MCAA believes this is due to a large company which had reported divisional employees last year for the first time and did not continue that expanded scope in 2010. Those included in the compensation report covering salaried employees only number 2,665 or 33% of the workforce.
  • 67% of the participating companies reported some freeze on salaries in 2009 which dropped to 50% this year and 25% reported a freeze on incentive payments, down from 35% in 2009.
  • In this reporting population, 68% of the employers have some incentive plan for employees (down from 75% in 2009) with 89% of those plans being based on performance (again, down from 95% last year).
  • Company performance was the most important factor in determining compensation adjustments (according to 80% of participants) while last year Group Performance was the critical factor. Other factors included Regional factors/surveys, COLA and group performance.
  • Employers indicated they allocate the “money pool” in annual budgets with an average of 84% for merit or performance increases, with 28% available for market adjustments and about 13% earmarked for promotions. Because there are multiple options, these averages won’t total 100% but the breakdown is useful.

The annual report published by MCAA is targeted at salaried positions but does include an annual hourly wage rate section for both regular and temporary workers. The 51 companies who contributed data reported an average hourly rate for regular hourly employees of $16.14 (down 2.3% from the prior year). The average population of hourly employees was down significantly from 129 in 2009 to 65 in 2010 (a 50% decline). Conversely, nearly 50% of the companies this year reported using temporary hourly workers (an increase of 25% over 2009) and paid them an average rate of $11.81 (a decrease of 16%) with an average 32.5% agency add-on.

Click here to view the complete 2010 MCAA Compensation Report.