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How lab supervisors fared on the salary front.

9 As a preface to our cover story on MLO's biennial salary survey in this issue, I'd like to share with you the results of two other recent studies related to the subject.

Salaries of clinical lab supervisors increased markedly in 1990, at least in the nation's largest cities, according to a study by William M. Mercer, a New York based benefits consulting firm. This study compared 1989 and 1990 hourly wages in 14 metropolitan cities (see Table 1).

The largest increase in median hourly pay occurred in Dallas, where wages jumped 31.4% from $14.35 per hour to $18.86. Philadelphia had the smallest increase, 2.3%, from $17.24 to $17.64 per hour.

Department supervisors in San Francisco were the highest paid at $24.90, an 18.1% jump from $21.08. Tampa, at $17.04 per hour, was the lowest paying of the cities.

Dallas and San Francisco weren't alone with a double-digit gain. Supervisor salaries rose 24.5% to $24.21 in Los Angeles, 17.8% to $19.12 in St. Louis, 17.6% to $20.29 in Washington, D.C., 14.8% to $19.38 in Chicago, 12.6% to $18.40 in Seattle, and 12% to $17.67 in Phoenix.

For readers who are accustomed to thinking in terms of annual salary figures, the 1990 hourly rates in Table I translate this way to annual salaries: Baltimore, $36,150; Chicago, $40,3 1 0; Dallas, $39,229; Detroit, $37,960; Houston, $38,418; Los Angeles, $50,357; New York, $46,779; Philadelphia, $36,691; Phoenix, $36,754; San Francisco, $51,792; Seattle, $38,272; St. Louis, $39,770; Tampa, $35,443; and Washington, D.C., $42,203.

These figures are mostly higher than those found in a new salary vacancy rate survey from the American Society of Clinical Pathologists as well as those from MLO's own study. It should be borne in mind, however, that the Mercer study surveyed supervisor salaries in metropolitan cities while the ASCP and MLO studies surveyed laboratories of all sizes in both urban and non-urban areas across the country.

The ASCP study reported that the 1990 median starting salary for medical technologist supervisors was $26,582 while the median top pay reached $36,067, a significant improvement over the comparable 1988 figures of $23,421 and $32,303. The increases were 13.5% and 11.7%, respectively.

The ASCP study also examined the personnel shortage afflicting clinical laboratories. Vacant positions for staff medical technologists increased to 11.6% in 1990 and for staff cytotechnologists soared to 27.3%. The 1988 figures were a vacancy rate of 9.3% for MTs and 13.6% for cytotechnologists, confirming that the shortage of laboratory professionals has indeed grown worse and has reached critical proportions in some areas.

Enough preface. For the results and ramifications of MLO's latest salary survey, turn to the special report starting on page 28.
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Author:Fitzgibbon, Robert J.
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:editorial
Date:Jan 1, 1991
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