MHM 2007 Salary Survey: A Fair Day's Pay for a Fair Day's Work

April 1, 2007
Think you deserve to be paid more? Join the club. See how your salary and bonus compares to your peers based on job title, age, experience, company size and other key factors.

Many factors contribute to job satisfaction. Pay tops the list, but it's closely followed by benefits, job stability, individual recognition, challenging work and opportunities for advancement. Then there's the basic satisfaction that comes from enjoying what you do every day.

For the most part, material handling and inventory managers are a satisfied lot. Over two thirds (69%) are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with their chosen careers, according to the Material Handling Management 2007 Salary Survey (see "Methodology"). Very few (7%) respondents said they are "unsatisfied" or "very unsatisfied." Reading through the hundreds of comments that we received, the people who are less satisfied seem to feel, whether it's pay related or other factors, that they aren't being treated fairly.

"My compensation does not reflect my value to the company, my education level, my experience nor my peer group," reports a 55-year-old manager of transportation and logistics earning just over $70,000 per year. "The truth of the matter is that our company suffers from nepotism, cronyism and favoritism. The true positive for me is that I work with and for some fabulous and talented people who are driven to make our company as successful as possible. I also take pride each day in the significant process improvements that have been made under my direction."

Cashing In

Among all job classifications, geographical regions and experience levels, the median pay level last year was just over $69,000, not including bonuses. The base pay of those in the upper quartile topped $90,000 per year. More than one out of ten material handling and inventory managers earned $120,000 or more per year. The median bonus was $7,000, or 9% of direct compensation.

It's common knowledge that larger companies tend to pay more. Comparing median salary levels, managers at companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenues earned 38% more than those where sales were less than $50 million. The wage gap between large and small firms narrowed considerably at the higher percentiles, suggesting that companies, no matter what the size, are willing to compensate their best employees for top performance.

Other key factors that contribute significantly to pay levels are age, experience, education and the number of people managed. Managers in their 20s earned a median of $50,000, compared to $88,000 for those over 60. Those with 10 years or less experience earned a median salary of $60,000, compared to $73,000 for those with 20 or more years under their belts. Interestingly, there was little difference in pay based on how long managers have been with their current company.

Individual managers with no college education earned around $53,000, which compares to $80,000 and up for those with at least a four-year degree. Finally, those with responsibility for 5 employees or fewer, earned 13% less ($65,000) than those who managed more than 25 people.


The 2007 Material Handling Management Salary Survey was conducted in March 2007 over the Internet via e-mailed invitations to 60,368 subscribers. A total of 1,663 people responded (for a response rate of 2.8%); of that number 1,420 completed the entire survey. Because of the relatively high number of respondents, we can report the data and split it in multiple ways with a high level of statistical confidence. There was no monetary incentive offered but participants did receive an exclusive preview of the survey results. All responses were anonymous. The tables below include all respondents from the United States, Canada and Mexico.