Plastics industry workers are enjoying a strong employment market and it's showing up in paychecks, according to a new survey.
"Capable, willing, attractive candidates are seeing multiple offers. It's a very competitive market. The competition for talent right now is extremely high. It's fierce," said Dennis Gros, president of the recruiting division for MBS Advisors.
His company undertakes an annual survey for the Society of Plastics Engineers to gauge the plastics industry job market.
The latest numbers show an average base salary for those participating in 2019 is $106,354. And the average total compensation for survey respondents is $134,229.
That compares with average compensation of $100,998 last year and average total compensation of $119,540 last year.
The survey sample was 1,439 people for the latest report and includes a wide range of positions, including engineering, finance, human resources, information technology, maintenance, production, sales and marketing, administrative support and executive.
With such job diversity, averages vary greatly from position to position.
Executives, for example, have an average total compensation of $224,165 while engineers check in at $109,997. Other major reporting categories include product development at $131,758 and sales and marketing at $143,253. Those four positions, combined, accounted for 78 percent of the respondents.
"It's an important barometer," Gros said of the annual survey. "It tells us where we've been and where we're going. It tells us how to plan our budgets. It tells employees where they stand compared to a basis group, and it tells employers what they should be prepared to do in the near-term future."
As CEO of SPE, Patrick Farrey provided his perspective on the importance of the survey.
"Year after year, the SPE salary survey reminds me that the plastics industry is a great place for people to have a successful, long-term career. Job satisfaction remains generally high, and salaries and benefits remain strong. The data suggests that people who stay in the industry enjoy greater rewards later in their careers," he said in an email interview.
Data from the survey, he indicated, helps his group advance important issues in the plastics sector.
"SPE remains committed to the development of future plastics professionals, the advancement of a diverse workforce and the support of safe, nondiscriminatory workplaces — all for the good of the industry and of companies and people in plastics. The salary survey, and additional future studies, will give us the data we need to be most successful in these causes," Farrey said.
Some 55 percent of the people who participated in the survey expect their base salary to increase by 1-3 percent this year and another 23 percent don't expect any change. That leaves 22 percent expecting raises of more than 3 percent and 3 percent expecting raises of more than 10 percent.
Base salary was $96,804 in 2017 for survey respondents, $98,930 in 2016, $102,866 in 2015 and $103,999 in 2014.
Total compensation was $112,740 in 2017 for survey respondents, $113,871 in 2016, $117,637 in 2015 and $121,706 in 2014.
Most managers who participated in the survey indicated they will be looking for more employees this year, but most people the survey said they are satisfied in their current positions. This need for employees, coupled with a tight qualified worker pool, is good news on payday.
"The net result of all that is what we see right now in today's market place. It's an employees' market," Gros said.