Salary Survey 2009: Holding Steady

Abstract:The 2009 salary survey suggests some of the old wisdom about expanding your training, responsibility and willingness to change jobs still applies. By itself, the survey can’t provide all the new information that future enlightenment and prosperity …

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Excellent article.
--Betim Osmani, 02-08-2010


I have seen employment in the Quality field drying up over the past 15 years. Quality Engineering jobs that were once plentiful are now disappearing. I have so many friends/associates that are out of work right now that I do not believe they will ever be able to enter the job market as a Quality professional again, at least not in the positions that they once held. This will result in a reduction of pay for them. I have seen age discrimination going on during this recession, with younger cheaper workers getting the small amount of jobs that are out there. Our manufacturing base in the US is quickly becoming extinct, and with it go the jobs in Quality.
--Frank Wolfe, 12-17-2009


The article I read indicates that 4.1% (372) of the respondents were unemployed. The author addressed the issue of under/over reporting due to self-selection openly and fairly.
--Barry Johnson, 12-14-2009


Thanks for your comments.

Tony, I appreciate your points. Diane and I have been in communication, and when she wrote this she had not yet seen this supplementary piece, where we discuss statistics we captured about the unemployed (it was our first year of doing this): http://www.asq.org/quality-progress/2009/12/salary-survey/lingering-effects.html. Thanks to all for reading!
--Seiche Sanders, 12-09-2009


I sympathize with Diane K. She makes some good points and is correct about the decline in quality jobs along with the decline in real value add industries. We are becoming a profession of consultants to an ever shrinking group of organizations who could make use to those consulting services.

all that said, there is still value in the survey. If we believe that to be acted upon, a condition needs to be measured. I would like to see more data on the unemployed. I am also not sure there can be an objective measure of underemployed. I do believe that consistency in statistics gathering and reporting is essential and that the current survey is only valuable for the data that is consistent with past surveys.
--Tony Adams, 12-08-2009


Thank you for writing this Diane K., and ASQ for printing it here. It has made me rethink a few things in my own career path. I empathize with you and agree emphatically! Good Luck- I wish you well.
--Deborah Powers, 12-07-2009



--Craig Lowe, 12-07-2009


Regarding this weasle-worded part of the 2009 QP salary survey article: "The unemployed and underemployed may be underrepresented.... If respondents indicated they were unemployed, they were excluded from the results."

News flash: If you have excluded those who indicated they were unemployed from the results of the salary survey (as indicated), why say they 'may be underrepresented'? What is THAT about? The UNEMPLOYED ARE SIMPLY NOT REPRESENTED, right?

Why is the author of this article afraid to let those of us in the quality profession know what percentage of those who responded to the salary survey also indicated that they were unemployed (or underemployed)?

And, by the way, with regard to that burgeoning group of enterprising management consultants among the 'self-employed' mentioned, here's another news flash for you: Becoming a management consultant is just desperate attempt to survive by those of us in the quality profession 'between jobs' and without unemployment benefits. What the heck? Nothing to lose, at that point, right? Hang a shingle.

It may have been a respectable career choice at one time but, now, I've seen it snickered at in even the most polite social circles.

Unemployment in Southern California is reported to be at approximately 14%. Manufacturing industry within the United States has declined to the extent that very few people actually make anything of value today. For a truly frightening understanding of this, see the chart at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind08/c6/fig06-19.htm . The chart only goes to 2005 but, I'll bet if you had an updated version for 2009, it would be even more pathetic.

ASQ seems to want to continue to hold manufacturing out as a primary career emphasis for quality-related professionals. Why? Why isn't the problem of the failing U.S. manufacturing industry as it impacts quality professionals being acknowledged in this article and why aren't some new alternatives being presented to those of us struggling to find work?

For the record, many of us ARE unemployed. I'm one. I've held 7 senior management positions in less than 10 years. My chronic unemployment has not been due to any lack of effort on my part. The companies I've worked for were sold, relocated, closed or downsized to the point of eminent demise. Throughout the first 20 years of my quality assurance career, I could count on a very good income with many great benefits. I spent most of those years within only two companies. Now, I'm competing against 100's, possibly 1000's of times as many qualified people for every employment opportunity. I've found that most manufacturing employers don't even last a year before economic disaster strikes them and I end up looking for work, again.

I've got a Master's Degree in Engineering, a BA in Biology and ASQ Certifications as a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence and as a Quality Engineer. I'm certified (privately) as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. So far, this time, I've been out of work for 3 months with nothing more than a few phone interviews. If I can't find decent work within the quality profession, who can? Why isn't this being openly addressed by ASQ in association with a survey so many of us have relied upon to chart our professional course over the years? What difference does the potential for a good salary make if only one in a thousand of us can find work?

I find the obvious ommission of the unemployed and 'underrepresentation' of the underemployed, from this article, irresponsible, insensitive and unprofessionally biased.
--Diane Kulisek, 12-01-2009


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