MRO Magazine

PEM SALARY SURVEY 2012 – Moving on Up: Workers see wage increases this year and beyond


February 11, 2013
By PEM Magazine

Welcome to PEM’s ninth annual salary survey. This year, we continued to receive significant participation from respondents who completed our comprehensive online questionnaire form, and we continue to compare results against previous surveys. PEM wants to thank the industry stakeholders who took the time to participate; it has helped us to build detailed benchmarks of industry trends, which maintenance professionals, engineers and plant operations can benefit from.


Regardless of what’s going on in the Canadian manufacturing sector, our annual survey shows salaries are not suffering because of it. Things are looking up, as they were the previous three years since the economic turmoil that began in the fall of 2008. Maintenance professionals and other plant workers have reported relatively stagnant earnings since our 2009 results. This year, the overall average annual pay is $89,450 compared to last year’s average of $87,229 — a jump of around three per cent from year to year.

The numbers are more than any of our previous years’ results. Last year was also our highest on record, so it’s safe to assume things are at the very least swinging in a positive direction. Much like spike in 2008 and 2011, we seem to have tapped bigger wage earners working in larger facilities and managing more people.


Sifting out the hourly-rated employees, we see this year’s salaried respondents matched last year’s high water mark, reporting average earnings of $92,626. This is down less than one per cent from 2011’s $92,910 — and still well above salaried earnings that were reported in surveys from 2004 through 2007.

The question of raises again proved to be fascinating. In last year’s survey, respondents were optimistic about the prospect of future pay increases, significantly higher than any previous year’s expectations (12.1% in 2008 and 24.5% in 2009 and 43.4% in 2010). This year, the results were similar to 2011 (62.3%), with 63.9% per cent of maintenance professionals and other plant workers getting a raise this year. Those that did see an increase saw increases of more than four per cent (4.39%), the highest since we started keeping track. Looking to 2013, 57.9 per cent anticipate raises, increasing 11.6 per cent from those anticipating it a year before. With these positive trends, hopefully the trend continued to tick upward.

And similar to last year, the more money respondents make, it seems the more they anticipate a raise. For example, those respondents who said they expect a raise in 2013 reported average earnings of $91,536. Those respondents who don’t expect a raise reported average earnings of $88,359. Respondents unsure about a raise this year reported average earnings of $85,898.

Last year was the first year we broke our results down by level of responsibility, by job title and by levels of training and education. Much like last year, the results this year show that the more people one has working for them, the more money they make.

Those responsible for multiple sites, such as a general manager, director or owner, hit above an average annual pay of more than $100,000. Department heads or site managers (like a superintendent or manager) hit around ninety thousand and team leaders (such as a supervisor, foreman or planner) get around $88,289. Those with little to no responsibility beyond their job, such as tradesperson or technician, were the lowest at $76,976. Digging deeper, we also examined the results by job title. See the detailed breakdown in the chart.

Level of education, understandably, has an effect on how much you’re paid, and the distinctions couldn’t be clearer. Those with a high school diploma as their highest level of education take in an average annual pay of $82,996. Those will a college degree get $89,842 while university graduates land around $94,671. Similarly, those with an engineering degree make more than $10,000 more than those without one ($99,961 versus $87,397), much like last year.

The further we get from the 2008 meltdown, the more optimistic workers are about staying in their current positions. Are respondents concerned about being laid off? A total of 9.5 per cent of respondents ($81,439) said they’re concerned, down from 10.8 per cent in 2010 and 14.7 per cent in 2010. The richest group were those not concerned about layoffs ($91,019), make up a total of 74.7 per cent of respondents, on par with 2011 (74.0%). Those respondents ($87,961) who said they’re unsure about their continued employment made up 15.8 percent of the total group.

The prospect of earning a promotion within companies remained steady this year. Those respondents who rated their prospects for promotion as “good” came in at 24.7 per cent. This compared with 19.0 per cent of respondents last year. Respondents who rated their prospects for promotion as “fair” stood at 35.5 per cent compared with 39.4 per cent in 2011. Lastly, respondents who rated their prospects for promotion as “poor” made up 39.8 per cent of the total group compared with 41.5 per cent last year.

The proportion of men to women who responded to this year’s survey (90.7% men to 9.3% women) is up slightly when compared to last year’s report (91.8% men to 8.2% women).

Once again, men were paid on average more than women: $92,378 versus $65,237. Women’s pay was up significantly from last year’s $52,375. Compared with the overall average pay ($89,450), men earned 3.3 per cent more and women made 27.1 per cent less.