MPulse customer Ricardo is facing a situation that will sound familiar to many maintenance managers. About 80 percent of his maintenance team is retiring or will retire in the next two years.
To add to the stress, Ricardo’s company is in an area where experienced maintenance professionals are hard to find. He often finds himself competing with other large employers over a pool of employees that is shrinking rapidly as fewer young employees seek careers in the maintenance field.
These economic factors have forced Ricardo’s management and human resource teams to reconsider salaries and overall compensation packages for its maintenance team.
“We have to rethink how we attract good employees—and retain them,” Ricardo said. “It’s our biggest challenge in today’s tight employment market.”
Supply & Demand
Employment of general maintenance and repair workers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
However, the Manpower Group’s latest Talent Shortage Survey found skilled trades positions are the most difficult to fill and have ranked #1 for the past four years.
Salaries for maintenance professionals can vary widely based on skill sets, experience, training, certification, education, etc.
PayScale estimates that an entry-level maintenance technician can expect to earn an average total compensation of $14.72/hour. In comparison, an experienced maintenance technician earns an average of $20.08/hour with 10-19 years of experience, and an average of $22/hour with 20 years or more.
But as Ricardo knows, salaries vary based on location. For example, PayScale estimates maintenance technicians in Dallas, Texas, earn about 9.8% more than the national average. As the number of potential employees in a region shrinks, organizations need to pay more to attract good workers.
Ricardo’s organization also needs very specific skills—systems troubleshooting, welding, electronic troubleshooting, and industrial hydraulics—which are correlated to pay that is above average.
PayScale estimates early career heavy equipment technicians similar to Ricardo’s positions earn an average total compensation $18.66/hour. An experienced heavy equipment technician earns an average of $24.87/hour with 10-19 years of experience, and an average $26/hour with 20 years or more.
Again, location matters. In Seattle, Washington, a heavy equipment technician earns an average of 33.9% more than the national average.
It’s no secret that maintenance work tends to be undervalued. But if you want to understand the real value of your maintenance personnel, ask yourself what they’re worth when a breakdown has your production line at a standstill.
Has your organization reevaluated compensation packages for maintenance professionals? What factors sparked the change? Leave a comment or contact us.