ISM®’s 2019 Salary Survey: Accelerated Earnings

Practitioners continue to reap the benefits of the profession’s wage-growth trend, with higher-than-average salary and overall compensation increases compared to professionals overall.

By Paul Lee

Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) has taken its annual pulse of salaries and overall compensation in the profession, and for the fifth consecutive year, practitioners reported good news. According to ISM’s Fourteenth Annual Salary Survey, salaries and overall compensation in the profession not only increased in 2018 compared to the previous year, they took a step forward when compared to salary growth among professionals overall.

Supply management salaries have been on an upward trend since the last decrease was reported in 2013. And in an environment of low unemployment that enables them to have options, practitioners are continuing to place importance on wages and expected job satisfaction when evaluating employment opportunities.

“As the most comprehensive study of compensation for the profession, the Salary Survey data helps companies understand what it takes to attract and retain critical supply management talent,” ISM CEO Thomas W. Derry says. “Supply management compensation continues to increase at a significantly faster pace than overall professional compensation, indicating the importance companies place on investing in supply management talent, which is essential to company strategy and performance.”

In calendar year 2018, the average overall compensation for all participating supply management professionals rose to US$119,271, an increase of 1.6 percent compared to 2017 ($117,425). This increase is in line with the 1.7-percent bump reported for 2017 compared to 2016 ($115,440). According to the survey, median compensation in 2018 increased 2.4 percent to $102,352, versus $100,000 in 2017.

Somewhat surprisingly, the news wasn’t as good for supply management professionals at the top of the salary scale: Average compensation of the top 10 percent of earners was $279,139, down 2.9 percent from $287,420 in 2017. The average compensation of the top 5 percent of earners slid significantly — to $340,956, down 7.5 percent from $368,505 in 2017. However, 53 percent of supply management practitioners earned $100,000 or more, compared to 50 percent in 2017.

Among U.S. geographic regions, survey respondents in the Pacific states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington reported the highest average salary of $131,990, followed by the West South Central ($129,817), Middle Atlantic ($127,299) and South Atlantic ($124,844) areas.

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