Quality Professionals’ Salaries Tick Upward in 2013
Managers point to experience and attitude as key hiring attributes
MILWAUKEE, WI— Salaries for quality professionals in 2013 increased ever-so-slightly after a year of stagnant salaries in 2012, according to Quality Progress magazine’s 27th annual Salary Survey.
According to the survey, salaries for respondents in 2013 increased 1.58 percent, a meager increase over last year — but an increase nonetheless — and less than 2011 when salaries for full-time employees in the United States rose nearly 2 percent. The highest-paid job titles in the U.S. include vice president/executive who make an average of $154,720, directors who make $123,460 and Master Black Belts, who average $119,274 in 2013.
In addition to the survey, Quality Progress magazine has updated its salary calculator reflecting 2013 data. The calculator, which is available to ASQ members, allows users to pinpoint salaries based on variables they choose.
According to the QP Salary Survey, respondents from the United States in 2013 made an average of $88,458, up from $86,743 in 2012. In Canada, the average salary in 2013 decreased slightly in 2013 to $84,226 from $84,715 in 2012. (All Canadian figures are noted in Canadian dollars.)
“While salary increases for quality professionals were minimal in 2013, it’s encouraging that salaries are again increasing after a year of flat pay,” said ASQ Chair John Timmerman. “The survey results suggest that with the right experience and training, quality professionals can steer their salaries in the right direction.”
New to this year’s salary survey is the questioning of hiring managers and their outlook for hiring and needs of quality personnel. Hiring managers provided insights to the attributes they find most desirable in candidates.
ExperienceTrumps Other Attributes
According to the survey, 30 percent of hiring managers say they expect to hire their next employee in quality within three months while more than 41 percent say they expect to hire their next employee in a year or more. Quality engineers, technicians and inspectors are the top positions managers foresee hiring, while vice presidents, champions and Master Black Belts were at the bottom of positions hiring managers foresee hiring.
Answers to open-ended questions show that general experience is the top attribute hiring managers consider for job candidates. A candidate’s attitude, specific industry or product experience, and personality also rank high among the desired attributes.
The least considered attributes include analytical skill, detail orientation and autonomy, or the ability to self-direct.
Surprisingly, the least considered attribute according to the survey is the understanding of quality and quality mindset. Very few hiring managers said an understanding of quality and quality mindset is a critical attribute.
Earnings Increased With Certifications
Those with ASQ certifications earn more than their colleagues with no certifications, according to the 2013 Salary Survey and substantiated by years of similar trends. More so, the more certifications earned, the higher the salary.
Of the salary survey respondents, 58.2 percent hold at least one ASQ certification. Nearly 40 percent hold just one certification, and nearly 14 percent have earned two certifications.
The average salary of respondents who have no certifications is $85,454, whereas those who have earned one certification make an average of $87,948, and those with two certifications earn $92,866. Respondents who have earned six or more certifications earn an average of $108,264.
• Supplier quality engineers with a Six Sigma Black Belt Certification earn an average of $22,209 more than their non-certified counterparts.
• Quality engineers who obtain a Reliability Engineer Certification make an average of $97,374 — $18,410 more than quality engineers without certification.
• Calibration technicians who earn a Calibration Technician Certification earn an average of $9,776 more than calibration technicians without certification.
Furthermore, QP’s salary survey demonstrates year-after-year that it pays to get Six Sigma training.
In the U.S., respondents who complete at least one Six Sigma training program earn $97,616 compared to $80,790 for those who have not completed any training — a difference of $16,826.
Full-time employees in the U.S. who have completed Green Belt training make nearly $10,000 more than those without training, those with Black Belt training make nearly $20,000 more than those with no training, and those with Master Black Belt training earn almost $45,000 more.
Respondents with Master Black Belt training make an average $124,661 in 2013, up from $119,335 in 2012 and $117,222 in 2011, according to the salary survey.
Experience Results in Higher Salaries
It’s no surprise that the amount of experience plays a role in salaries. The more experience, the higher the salary.
In the United States, respondents with more than 20 years’ experience in the quality field averaged $101,189 in 2013, according to the survey. In 2012, U.S. quality professionals with more than 20 years’ experience earned $99,564.
On the other hand, respondents with less than a year of experience in 2013 earn an average of $64,874, up from $63,674 in 2012.
The QP Salary Survey was completed by nearly 6,500 quality professionals from a broad range of industries and market sectors, a response rate of 16.7 percent. Regular, full-time employees made up 93.8 percent of the respondents. Self-employed consultants, part-time employees and unemployed, retired or laid off workers also were surveyed.
For 27 years, Quality Progress has released its annual Salary Survey, an indicator of the health of the quality profession using survey results. The survey breaks down salary information, submitted by ASQ members, in 24 sections and sorts results by job title, education, years of experience, and geographic location. The QP Salary Survey is sponsored by MEIRxRS, a contract research, recruiting and staffing organization.
ASQ members can view the entire QP Salary Survey results by visiting qualityprogress.com/salarysurvey. During December, a portion of the report will be available through QP’s digital edition, which can be accessed through qualityprogress.com.