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Surveys reveal wage, salary increases.

Inside This Story:

* Employee wages and benefits have increased since last year.

* Executive compensation packages reflect a rebounding economy in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

* Two AFS-sponsored surveys detailing trends in wages, benefits and salaries and compensation in metalcasting and manufacturing firms are discussed in this article.

A rebounding economy has helped many metalcasting firms begin to recover from the slump of the early 2000s, and some of that recovery is seen in the increased wages for employees. But businesses must find a way to maintain a competitive casting price and retain customers while rewarding and recruiting its valuable workers.

AFS annually offers two surveys that give a range of salaries and wages for metalcasting employees. The AFS Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits and the National Executive Compensation Survey allow firms to benchmark their compensation packages with other similar metalcasting and manufacturing companies. The data in the surveys reveals trends in compensation and benefits that could direct your company to a different compensation outlook or reaffirm your company's current compensation plan.

Both surveys show an increase in wages and benefits for most employees, from the metalcasting laborers working on the floor to manufacturing executives. Further data regarding salaries and compensation are revealed in this article as well as trends in insurance, hiring wages and average executive salaries by region.

Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits

The Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits provides data for 28 job classifications within the metalcasting industry. Reports from 168 U.S. metalcasting facilities representing 21,466 employees and 15 Canadian firms with 1,053 employees were used in developing the 2005 report.

The survey covers 20 labor market areas and reveals complete breakdowns for union and non-union metalcasting facilities and four metalcasting groups based on the type of metal poured.

The study's data also is divided into five separate categories based on company size--20 or fewer employees, 21 to 50 employees, 51 to 100 employees, 101 to 250 employees and 251 or more employees.

The sampling of job classifications shown in Table 1 reflects modest increases, ranging from 1.5% for pourers to 10.6% for automatic mold machine operators. The positions of shell mold and/or shell coremaker and rough grinder showed slight decreases compared to last year.

Nationally, the minimum hiring rate ranges from $6.00 to $15.65, with an average of $9.58. The average hourly earnings were $14.05. Of the 164 companies responding, only 12 continue to offer an annual cost of living increase.

Additionally, 27% of the respondents provided health care benefits through an HMO insurance plan while 68% offered a PPO plan. The remaining respondents offered a combination of the two or are self-insured.

The survey also tabulated responses to questions regarding holidays and vacations, retirement plans, life insurance, sick leave and pay differentials per shift.

National Executive Compensation

AFS partnered with the Management Assn. of Illinois, Downers Grove, Ill. to offer the National Executive Compensation Survey, which is conducted annually in cooperation with 20 other employer associations. A total of 1,578 organizations participated in the 2005 survey, representing compensation data for 10,706 executives in the 34 positions analyzed.

Data in this survey is broken down by sales volume, type of industry (manufacturing and service organizations and public and private organizations), benefits, perquisites and stock ownership.

Table 2 lists the 2004 average salary, median salary and the average total compensation for each job category in the public and private sector of manufacturing based on sales volume from up to more than $1 billion. This data is based on nationwide earnings and includes all sales volume breakouts.

Average total compensation refers to the sum of all cash compensation including base salary, annual bonus and other cash compensation provided to those positions listed. Additional perquisites that may have been figured in to the total compensation package include automobile allowances, additional deferred compensation, special insurances, stock options, retirement plans, etc. Median salaries for 2003 also are listed to allow comparisons to the prior year.

According to the survey results, seven positions saw a decrease in median salary from 2003 to 2004, including staff legal counsel, purchasing head, product development engineer, regional sales manager, and facility engineer.

At the top level, manufacturing executive officers enjoyed increases, with international executives averaging increases of 18.2%. Most notable was the 75% increase experienced by government affairs executives, showing a median salary increase from $65,000 to $113,700.

Other notable salary increases included a 17.6% increase for industrial engineer heads, from a $72,500 median salary in 2003 to an $85,300 median salary in 2004. The position of general sales manager saw a 7.8% increase from 2003 to 2004, while engineering and research executives saw a 5.5% increase in median salary.

Information from the national compensation survey should be used for baseline informational purposes only, as many factors can influence the national findings listed. The complete survey breaks this information down by region, manufacturing vs. service industry and sales volume. Table 3 provides a sample comparison of salaries and the variation by region.

For More Information

Visit for additional information regarding the 2005 Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits or the National Executive Compensation Survey.

"Manufacturing Salary Survey Shows Increase in 2003," MODERN CASTING Staff Report, Nov. 2004, p. 31-32.

"Foundrymen See Slight Dip in Salaries in 2002," MODERN CASTING Staff Report, Nov. 2003, p. 47.


The average median rate paid in 2004 for furnace operators, according to the AFS Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits.



The average hiring wage for metalcasting laborers, according to AFS' Survey of Wages and Economic Benefits.

Top 5 Highest-Paid Manufacturing Executive Positions (Based on Compensation)

1. CEO ($321,300)

2. COO ($223,000)

3. Staff legal counsel ($214,900)

4. Executive/multi-function ($188,100)

5. International executive ($173,200)
Table 1. Average and Median Hourly Earnings

Job classification Average Median Average
 hourly rate hourly
 earnings paid earnings
 2003 2003 2004

Automatic mold machine operator 13.51 13.51 13.30
Shell mold and/or shell coremaker 12.33 12.12 12.31
Machine coremaker (blower) 12.91 12.92 13.08
Cupola or furnace operator 13.60 13.39 13.88
Melter, electric furnace 13.65 13.77 13.80
Pourer 12.94 13.06 13.06
Rough grinder 12.01 12.58 12.55
General laborer 11.48 11.46 11.59

Job classification Median % Change
 rate median
 paid hourly
 2004 earnings

Automatic mold machine operator 14.95 10.6
Shell mold and/or shell coremaker 12.01 -0.009
Machine coremaker (blower) 13.61 5.3
Cupola or furnace operator 14.12 5.5
Melter, electric furnace 14.15 2.8
Pourer 13.25 1.5
Rough grinder 12.55 -0.002
General laborer 11.68 1.9

Table 2. Average Salary by Job Classification for All Manufacturing
Firms (in 000 dollars)

Job classification Average Median
 salary salary
 2004 2004

Chief executive officer 227.6 200.0
Chief operating officer 171.7 153.3
Executive/multi-function 146.8 135.0
Engineering/research executive 122.3 115.0
Manufacturing executive 120.9 114.8
Financial/accounting executive 128.3 120.8
Sales/marketing executive 130.7 124.9
International executive 134.3 130.0
Human resources executive 93.6 86.9
Staff legal counsel 171.7 161.8
Engineer 97.6 90.0
Controller 90.8 87.5
General sales manager 102.3 97.0
Manufacturing manager/plant manager 83.8 81.8
Director of materials 85.4 82.0
Purchasing head 73.4 67.9
Quality control head 80.7 76.0
Industrial engineer head 84.2 85.3
Asst. human resources executive 68.9 65.0
Compensation/benefits 88.2 70.0
Research engineer 103.5 89.5
Product development engineer 90.8 84.7
Advertising/sales promotion manager 74.4 68.8
District sales manager 68.6 62.2
Regional sales manager 81.4 80.0
Product/brand manager 83.8 81.4
Chief information officer 102.8 97.0
Facility engineer 70.7 68.1
Government affairs executive 158.9 113.7
Marketing executive (excluding sales) 123.7 119.2
Sales executive/domestic markets 130.9 126.3
Development executive (service industries) 94.3 90.0
Operations executive (non-manufacturing) 115.8 105.1
Supply chain management 99.5 99.3

Job classification Median % Change
 salary median
 2003 salary
 from 2003

Chief executive officer 192.0 4.2
Chief operating officer 148.1 3.5
Executive/multi-function 125.5 7.6
Engineering/research executive 109.0 5.5
Manufacturing executive 109.2 5.1
Financial/accounting executive 116.7 3.5
Sales/marketing executive 122.0 2.4
International executive 110.0 18.2
Human resources executive 85.0 2.2
Staff legal counsel 163.7 -1.2
Engineer 87.2 3.2
Controller 93.0 5.4
General sales manager 90.0 7.8
Manufacturing manager/plant manager 79.2 3.3
Director of materials 78.5 4.5
Purchasing head 68.9 -1.5
Quality control head 75.0 1.3
Industrial engineer head 72.5 17.6
Asst. human resources executive 62.0 4.8
Compensation/benefits 64.0 9.4
Research engineer 88.9 0.1
Product development engineer 90.8 -7.2
Advertising/sales promotion manager 67.6 1.8
District sales manager 60.0 3.7
Regional sales manager 82.0 -2.5
Product/brand manager 79.7 2.1
Chief information officer 94.4 2.8
Facility engineer 70.5 -3.5
Government affairs executive 65.0 75.0
Marketing executive (excluding sales) 113.0 5.5
Sales executive/domestic markets 120.2 5.1
Development executive (service industries) 93.5 -3.9
Operations executive (non-manufacturing) 116.7 -11.0
Supply chain management NA NA

Job classification Average

Chief executive officer 321.3
Chief operating officer 223.0
Executive/multi-function 188.1
Engineering/research executive 143.9
Manufacturing executive 146.0
Financial/accounting executive 158.1
Sales/marketing executive 164.8
International executive 173.2
Human resources executive 108.6
Staff legal counsel 214.9
Engineer 108.2
Controller 102.2
General sales manager 119.9
Manufacturing manager/plant manager 93.5
Director of materials 93.9
Purchasing head 79.9
Quality control head 87.2
Industrial engineer head 90.3
Asst. human resources executive 73.7
Compensation/benefits 95.7
Research engineer 112.0
Product development engineer 102.9
Advertising/sales promotion manager 80.0
District sales manager 86.6
Regional sales manager 97.1
Product/brand manager 92.5
Chief information officer 116.4
Facility engineer 74.4
Government affairs executive 171.0
Marketing executive (excluding sales) 145.6
Sales executive/domestic markets 158.6
Development executive (service industries) 95.8
Operations executive (non-manufacturing) 140.3
Supply chain management 114.3

Table 3. Median Salaries by Region for Selected Positions (in 000

Job classification U.S. Northeast Midwest

CEO 200.0 200.0 200.0
Manufacturing manager/plant manager 81.8 77.6 83.0
Facility engineer 68.1 67.5 70.5
General sales manager 87.0 100.0 96.6
Human resources executive 86.9 77.4 88.3

Job classification South West

CEO 231.9 198.3
Manufacturing manager/plant manager 81.7 76.8
Facility engineer 63.6 61.9
General sales manager 90.1 98.0
Human resources executive 112.0 84.3
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Publication:Modern Casting
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Previous Article:Domestic business: what are our operational costs? More than 100 metalcasting facilities, representing $2.81 billion in sales, participated in the...
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