Nonprofit releases salary report


The Employers' Association, or TEA, founded in 1939, is a nonprofit based in southeast Grand Rapids. Photo via

A report detailing wages paid across industries in West Michigan reveals an increase of 3 percent in pay rates since 2014 and projects an increase of about 3 percent for 2016.

Surveying employers

The Employers’ Association in Grand Rapids, or TEA, released last week its 2015-16 Wage & Salary Survey, which represents data for 355 jobs across 206 West Michigan companies in multiple industries.

Wages are displayed by average, weighted average, median, 25th and 75th quartiles and 10th and 90th percentiles. The overall data can be broken out and compared by company size, industry, location and union status.

Maggie McPhee, information services director at TEA, said the report can be useful to employers as a benchmark to see how their company compares to others in the community and industry and, in turn, offer competitive wages to prospective employees.

“Competition for employees has gotten so stiff it’s to the point now where I’m hearing that there’s nobody left to hire, and if they are, sometimes they’re getting people already employed,” McPhee said. “So employers have to compete with what they’re making in pay and benefits to attract employees.”

TEA members can order a copy of the full report for $300, while non-members can order the report for $1,200.

The annual report has been released nearly every year of TEA’s 76-year history.

Average industry increases

The report says that wages increased across the board by 3 percent, but some industries experienced larger increases than others.

The report covers a number of categories: finance, human resources, payroll, general office, sales and marketing, legal, nonprofit, graphic arts, manufacturing, science, engineering, health care and executive.

Manufacturing is the largest industry covered.

Rates in engineering and marketing and sales stayed “pretty much the same,” and the increase in purchasing was “minimal,” while health care also increased, according to McPhee. Wages in finance and accounting increased by 3.3 percent. For instance, a level-three accountant made about $2,000 more in 2015, or an increase of about 3.51 percent. IT professionals saw a wage increase of about 2.5 percent.

The reports says that workers in skilled trades saw a large pay jump, with wages for level-one tool and die makers increasing by 4.8 percent and level-three drivers increasing by 4.2 percent. A level-two manufacturing process engineer saw a pay increase of 2.6 percent, while a production helper made 3.82 percent more. McPhee said welders also saw a large increase in pay.

For the first time in the report's history, pay rates for executives are made available to anyone who purchases the report, instead of only being made available to those who included that data in their surveys. Executive pay increased by about 3 percent to 3.5 percent.

The Employers’ Association

Operating from its Grand Rapids location since incorporation in 1939, The Employers’ Association is dedicated to helping its members maximize employee output and minimizing employer liability.

It provides human resources and management advice, training, consulting services and access to the yearly Wage & Salary Survey.

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