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MCAA publishes 2017 compensation report 

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MCCA writes: The Measurement, Control and Automation Association (MCAA) has not been alone in reporting (for many years) the significant and largely negative impact the ‘brain drain’, that would take place as Baby Boomers retired, would have on our industry along with other high-tech based industries. We also know that it takes 18 - 36 months to get young professional employees up to speed about our industry, products and practices.

MCAA members continue to work with technical schools and community colleges to help with the need for knowledgeable and skilled technicians. This knowledge dilemma will continue in the near term. 

In this year’s MCAA Compensation Report, there appears to be a downward shift in base salaries with continuation of incentive or bonus payments in virtually every position. Comments from participants indicated wage freezes are still in effect based on the downturn in the market especially based on oil and gas prices. In a slight shift from prior years, more weight is being put on incentive compensation against performance goals than on base salary increases. 

The Compensation Report which MCAA publishes is based on data contributed voluntarily by its member companies – both manufacturers and channel partners. 52 companies participated in the report – 37 manufacturers and 15 channel firms. Most of the participating companies are privately held (49) and represent a workforce of over 7200 full time employees of which 50% are exempt. That is a smaller workforce than 2016 and is somewhat accounted for by a change in the size of participating companies although the overall count of participating companies is about the same.

The report is targeted at salaried positions but does include a wage rate report for both regular and temporary workers. There was a negligible 1% increase in the average hourly rate to US$19.82 this year. 

It is important to note that the MCAA Compensation Report is NOT a historical review: the reporting population changes every year and the Association does not require historical information from companies. However, over the many years that MCAA has run this study, there is a consistency in the data despite this changing mix of participants. MCAA recommends the report to members primarily for the actual benchmark and ranges that it provides for them to evaluate whether their compensation program is sufficient to attract and retain the best calibre people for their company. 

While there was virtually no statistical change in the reporting population, significantly more incumbents were reported in several job categories and in each case, the average base salary was lower than reported in 2016. The top Sales Engineer, Service Engineers (two levels) and all three levels of Application Engineers had big jumps in population with significant drops in base salaries. One take on this change is that it is the beginning of hiring younger, less experienced employees. Conversely, one could discount changes where incumbent populations decreased because of the smaller size of the companies in the reporting population. On the other hand, this could be early evidence of the impact of the lack of availability of qualified candidates. 

Positions in the participating companies centre on field sales/service and technical marketing and sales support areas (61% of all management positions) followed by general management and an ever-decreasing number of product design/ development and software personnel. 

The report covers these categories of personnel: General Management (25 positions), Field Sales and Service (18 positions), Technical Marketing and Sales Support (12 positions), Product Design and Development (9 positions) and Software (8 positions but few being reported). 

MCAA is the voice of the measurement, control and automation industry. The Association provides the best community and resources for manufacturers and distributors of instrumentation and systems, used by industry around the world. MCAA members run and grow their businesses by utilising unsurpassed market and business insights, unique networking opportunities, effective employee development programs and unbiased, affordable market data. 

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