Money may make the world go round, but it doesn’t necessarily buy happiness or job satisfaction. While dollars and cents can’t be ignored, Quality Magazine’s 7th Annual State of the Profession Survey reveals that almost one-third of quality workers think that a feeling of accomplishment is the most important job attribute.
In fact, only 12% of those surveyed said that salary was the most important attribute, falling behind the feeling of accomplishment, 28%, technical challenge, 22%, and a good relationship with work colleagues, 15%.
Bundled together, these factors lead to overall job satisfaction-92% are either highly satisfied or moderately satisfied with their jobs.
CompensationFor the seventh straight year, the average annual salary-including bonuses-of quality professionals is on the rise. This year, the average salary is $76,207, an increase of 7.3% from last year’s average of $71,000, and a 25% increase from 2001, when the salary survey began. Still, 17% of respondents report an annual salary of $100,000 or more.
While these numbers take into account cash bonuses received during the year, for 48% of the group, these numbers are straight salary, while 52% indicate that they received a bonus. Of those that received a bonus, 52% indicated that it was an increase over last year’s bonus.
For the most part, the larger the company, the more quality professionals are paid. On average, respondents working for companies with less than 50 employees average $67,091, respondents working for companies with 250 to 499 employees make $73,606, and respondents working for companies with 5,000 or more employees make $105,218.
As can be expected, the respondents in corporate management have the highest salaries at an average of $129,423, an 11.6% increase from last year. Other average salaries include manufacturing management and operations with an average salary of $90,469, research and development with an average salary of $83,649, manufacturing engineering with an average salary of $74,098, and quality and product assurance control with an average salary of $70,461.
Additional certifications help boost earning power, particularly those involved in Six Sigma. Green Belts earn an average of $79,245. Black Belts earn an average of $89,230. Master Black Belts average $95,926 and Six Sigma Champions earn an average of $120,778.
There is more good news in that 74% of respondents expect a salary increase at their next performance review. Twenty-five percent expect no change in their salary and their next review and an unlucky 1% expect to see a decrease in salary.
To earn their paychecks, quality professionals take on a variety of duties. The most often-cited responsibility is to implement solutions to problems, 79%. Other primary responsibilities include:
- Interfacing with management, 69%
- Dealing with customers, 64%
- Dealing with suppliers, 60%
- Supervise day-to-day operations, 55%
- Document adherence to formal standards such as ISO, 54%
- Continue education and training, 50%
It is likely that the training will take the same form that past training has taken: self-study books, 57%; on-the-job training, 50%; off-site seminars, 45%; technical training and trade magazines, both 44%.
But benefits extend beyond the paycheck. Nearly all quality workers have health insurance, 94%, and vacation time, 93%, available to them. A majority of workers have a pension or 401(k), 89%, dental insurance, 84%, life insurance, 83%, tuition reimbursement, 71%, and on-the-job training, 54%, available.
CompaniesAs the economy continues to improve, manufacturers have their work cut out for them. New orders for manufactured goods in April increased $1.3 billion or 0.3% to $418 billion, according to a report released in June by the U.S. Census Bureau.
More than half of the respondents, 52%, expect their companies to meet the challenge by committing more resources to quality operations during the next three years. Thirty nine percent expect quality resources to remain the same while 9% expect decreases during the next three years.
But when it comes to meeting quality needs that exceed in-house capacity, how do companies deal with the challenge? Overtime is the number one way to go, according to 63% of respondents. Some companies outsource to third parties or temporary workers, 29% and 27%, respectively. But for 13% of companies, the work simply does not get done.
Looking forward to the next 12 months, quality professionals expect a variety of job constraints and barriers to impact their jobs. As with many industries, time constraints, cited by 64%, looks to be the biggest obstacle. Other obstacles including the often-cited management support, 40%; dealing with suppliers, 35%; dealing with customers and the skilled labor shortage, both 34%, will prove challenging for the industry.
Despite all of the obstacles facing quality professionals, 38% find their jobs highly satisfactory, while another 54% find their jobs moderately satisfactory. So when Mick Jagger sang, “Can’t get no satisfaction,” he obviously wasn’t referring to quality professionals.
MethodologyA total of 24,897 active, qualified Quality Magazine direct request subscribers were selected from the domestic (United States only) circulation with e-mail addresses whose job titles were management, manufacturing engineering, manufacturing/ operations, quality/product assurance, engineering/technical, and research and development. These subscribers principle product manufactured includes: furniture and fixtures, rubber and miscellaneous plastic products, primary metal industries, fabricated metal products, nonelectronic machinery, electric and electronic equipment, transportation equipment and instruments and related products.
Quick TipsProfile of the average quality professional:
- Is 49 years old.
- Has worked 13 years with current employer.
- Has worked 18 years in the industry.
- Works 47 hours a week.
- Receives an annual compensation of $76,207.