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Packaging salaries come up 'smelling like a rose'

An exclusive 2010 IoPP/Packaging World Salary Survey shows packaging incomes rose compared to 2009, with optimistic views on job satisfaction and job security.
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What do you get when you add full-time salary, bonus, cash incentives, and commission? For respondents to the 2010 Salary Survey, those added up to a weighted average total earnings of $104,850, up from $101,470 in 2009 and $101,879 the previous year.

Conducted by the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP) and Packaging World magazine, the 2010 Salary Survey was developed in cooperation with Gros Executive Recruiters. A total of 1,968 people responded to the survey, conducted online from Jan. 31 to Feb. 28, 2011. Survey results revealed the following encouraging news for packaging professionals:

• Sixty-two percent of respondents saw their compensation increase in 2010, 28% reported the same income as the year before, with only 10% noting a decrease in earnings. The weighted average increase was 2.8%.

• Thirty-six percent of respondents were somewhat satisfied with their current wages and earnings, 21% very satisfied, 20% somewhat dissatisfied, 16% neutral, and 7% very dissatisfied. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they received a bonus last year, with an average weighted bonus of 10.6%.

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• Eighty-five percent of respondents reported no job change in 2010, with only 2% saying they were involuntarily terminated and unemployed (see Figure 2). In a separate question asking how satisfied are you with your current job security, 39% felt somewhat secure, 28% very secure, 14% were neutral, 13% a little worried, and 6% were very worried about their job security.

• Thirteen percent of respondents to a question about 2010 promotions from their existing employer said they were promoted, while 87% were not. A separate question about satisfaction with current job duties indicated 36% felt somewhat overburdened, 35% had no strong feelings, 16% sought some additional responsibilities, 10% believed they were extremely overburdened, and 3% desired many additional responsibilities.

• Asked about job benefits, 38% were somewhat satisfied, 30% very satisfied, 16% were neutral, 11% somewhat dissatisfied, and 4% very dissatisfied. Paid holidays were the most frequently mentioned employee-provided benefit, at 93%, followed by paid vacation at 91%, health care (medical) at 89%, and health care (dental) at 80%.

Salary specifics

Packaging suppliers responding to the survey earned the most in 2010, at $110,970. That was up $2,427 from 2009. End-user incomes rose $3,523 from 2009 to 2010’s $101,320. Those who categorized their companies as both or “other” saw the largest one-year pay hike, rising $7,901. Males averaged $17,450 more income than females, although that disparity was narrowed compared to 2009’s difference of $19,610.

Forty-four percent of respondents are IoPP members, with that affiliation paying off in terms of income as members reported 2010 earnings of $107,140, pulling down $4,390 more than nonmembers.

Looking at salaries based on job title, average earnings varied from $82,540 for a production professional to $152,980 for corporate management. Engineers, who were the most prominent among total number of survey respondents, reported average salaries of $94,940.

Consultants and structural design pros made the largest salary gains in 2010, with consultants averaging $12,299 more than in 2009, and structural designers up $10,938. Engineers made $5,164 more than in 2009, with R&D up $4,677, corporate management up $3,089, and purchasing personnel up $1,053. Meanwhile marketing/sales salaries went down $1,869 on average, as did production personnel by $1,484.

Experience and education also yielded income advantages. Salaries averaged $125,940 for respondents with more than 20 years of experience, $110,170 for those with 15 to 20 years, $97,270 for 11 to 15 years, $89,350 for 6 to 10 years, $70,700 for 3 to 5 years, and $65,110 for those with 1 or 2 years.

Similar patterns emerged with years of education, with high school grads averaging $78,000, those with some undergrad schooling $93,000, those with undergraduate degrees at $101,740. Those with some graduate studies earned $113,000, actually higher than the $111,290 average reported by those with a graduate degrees. Post-graduate studies or PhD professionals averaged $124,040.

Further evidence of job security and confidence in salaries is evident in the 2011 expectations (see Figure 5). Here, more than half of salary survey respondents anticipate no change in the number of employees at their companies, with 34% actually anticipating that more direct employees will be added. Perhaps most encouraging is that 61% of respondents expect to earn more this year than in 2010 (see Figure 6).

The 2009 salary survey revealed that even with layoffs, job security worries, and fewer bonuses, salaries “stood up to 2009’s economic gut punch.” The 2010 salary survey numbers convey some much-needed optimism and a truly rosy outlook.

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