MHM’s 2010 Salary Survey Comments

March 15, 2010
Material handling managers see a light at the end of the tunnel, but for some it’s a long tunnel.

As part of the Material Handling Management 2010 Salary Survey, respondents were invited to share comments regarding their salary, job situation, material handling and logistics industry, or professional challenges. All responses were posted anonymously. Some of the following comments have been lightly edited (primarily for clarity). Also see the responses to the question: “What is the biggest challenge facing the material handling and logistics industry today?”


No change in several years.

Job stability is number one and in this market hard to come by, relationships with coworkers # 2, benefits #3.

You are never satisfied.

In the last five years I have enjoyed recognition and compensation due to senior management change.

Job stability is probably the biggest issue in this economy.

Pay cut is never good and then extra work is added due to manpower reductions. Promotions are made within the company and the new VP has no understanding of overall operations.

The lack of management support and knowledge about what really needs to be accomplished.

Although I was promoted and put on salary instead of hourly, when production and profit took a hit, we ALL had pay cuts... so I was ‘promoted’ but am making less than two years ago. It has been said when orders and profits recover, so will our salaries. I am just glad the company has not shut down entirely.

I’m not working at the moment. I need MS Excel knowledge & PowerPoint. I’m 60 years old.

According to my salary is only in the 6th percentile. My company was a small family-run company until it was acquired four months ago by a larger company. A review of my salary is supposed to be done in about a month and I hope to see a significant increase. I am frustrated that my company laid off my boss, and now I am doing twice the work for the same small pay I was getting before.

I have not had a raise for over three years. In 2009 I did not receive an annual bonus. Sales were down terribly and jobs were cut and work share was put into place.

Even though I am unemployed at this time, I still respect the manufacturing base of our country and the need to improve our material handling capabilities.

I have a BSIE and 5+ years experience but have been laid off after moving cross country to find work. I am now in grad school for logistics engineering to become competitive. So $0 for 2009, $55K in WV in 2008.

I’m still worried about the economic turnaround, and when, if ever, it will start.

I shifted from engineering to sales so base salary dropped about 25%. Then we had a company-wide salary reduction of 5%. So I am way down but now can earn commissions.

Change is the only constant.

Companies are looking for cheaper people, especially those with a work visa who are willing to work for less money.

Very concerned about the Federal government’s intervention in trying to control the economy.

Wish the industry was doing better.

Help make my company strong and financially secure. I want to make it better than when I first started.

We need to go back and teach everyone the old basics of respect, common courtesy, manners and work ethics.

Any CEO can run a company into the ground in today’s market. A good CEO will be able to keep the company in the black.

Although my salary is below the average for a distribution manager in my area, I am fortunate to work for a company that cares about its employees.

Merged with a larger company outside of the United States—many changes in policy, procedure, etc. Now we are all just “numbers” and not individuals.

I have answered with my most recent position in mind but I was laid-off from that position. It has been difficult to find another position, with a decent salary/benefits package in my area, without either a long commute or a substantial (more than 20%) reduction in salary/benefits.

Labor skill is not at what it should be for the wages paid.

As sales manager I had a good salary plus commissions a year ago. To conserve cash the company has taken away my salary and I’m now straight commission. Now I bear all the risk and they have none.

Because of the unknown economy wages have been suffering when everything has gone up around you. Companies have changed towards trying to keep people on when there are so many looking for work.

Concerns with manufacturing slowdown and company downsizing.

I feel with my current position I should make $13,000 a year more base salary.

Due to the current market situation, we were forced to absorb some actions implemented in order to preserve our jobs.

The main concern is the uncertainty of a rebound for our industry.

Not recognized as being an important player in the company. Things run smoothly and costs are down but management has come to expect that from my department. Very little recognition.

My salary is not indicative of the market in this area. I took this position based on a number of personal factors of which salary was not high on the list.

When I work more than 40 hours my salary reverts to an hourly rate for the purposes of paying time-and-a-half. Nice perk!

As a consultant, we have just gone through the worst recession in my 37 years of working. I lost my bonus, and took a 10% pay cut four years ago, and will never make more than I do today, but at least I have steady income. We are seeing some uptick in activity, and hopefully this will continue in 2010 and beyond, so I can retire some day.

I feel I am underpaid for the level of responsibility I am held accountable for.

In a perfect world someone at my level would not handle any logistics. Market conditions are such that our company is understaffed, thus many are relegated to tasks that bring no added value.

I like my job and was willing to take a pay freeze for 2010 in order to help my company protect its bottom line and insure my continued employment going forward.

Less quality for more money.

Volumes down 50% in 2009—no layoffs therefore gross and net both down, but it is important to retain skilled workers and maintain visibility to be ready for recovery.

Salary could always be better especially as we age and gain more experience. Further, the state of business and its expectations today seem to have reduced staffing levels and increased individual workloads to uncomfortable levels. Difficult to maintain as business grows!

Keeping the current staff with a 40% drop in sales is our biggest challenge. If things pick up we will be understaffed if we have a layoff.

The economy is so down right now that we are having to reach out further to find customers.

The biggest challenge that I have today is to stay within our pricing structure with all aspects of business. And making a bottom-line profit at year’s end.

We have not had a salary increase in two years but morale is still great. Employees are thankful for having a job. With flexible hours, project ownership and other non-monetary rewards they continue to fuel our lean operating model.

Compensation package includes commission based on sales numbers and profitability. My total compensation was reduced significantly because of the recession. Like my job. Like the industry.

Bring back manufacturing to the USA.

My company is positioned for growth despite what channel of distribution we choose.

Frustrations on bank lending. Remember we are dealing with customers creating change.

It is obvious that nobody would like to be stagnant at a certain salary for long. In my case, I would very much appreciate it if every year my salary is doubled. On professional challenges, every day new topics/subjects are introduced in our learning institutions, which are later translated as among the qualifications that one should have in case he or she is applying for a new job. This should be standardized. It affects our profession.

The American people have become spoiled. Thinking all will be fine forever but now the economy has gone south and we are looking for someone to blame.

Very satisfied with salary and job situation.

Corporation is currently practicing a worldwide wage and hiring freeze.

Logistics is a wonderful career path.

We are working hard to maintain our quality while reducing costs while coping with a 18% revenue reduction over the past year. We have seen very little rebound in business to date.

Some people are just too stupid to help.

The global economy has a direct impact on the state of the material handling industry.

I am very fortunate to be with a dynamic company in a growth pattern and the recognition I receive for my participation.

I am happy with my salary (of course more would be nice!), but I’m more concerned with staying employed.

I didn’t get a bonus last year.

Everyone is doing more with less.

My present employer has a very low value of people unless they are connected or a member of the upper management team. Rewards at the lower end are practically nonexistent.

We’re screwed!

It's hard to think that once stable companies are being bought out.

I keep doing this because I enjoy what I am doing. I’ve done this so long, I have learned to truly enjoy what I do!

The position I had was abolished and I was forced to take the position I have now at a $24k a year cut.

Hoping that once the economy picks up, so will the salary and the return of bonuses.

I think in these tight times people are losing sight of what is more important, which is value not just the lowest cost or cheapest product.

The retail trade is known for extremely low salaries except at the top. Also there is little recognition except at the top for accomplishments.

The garment industry is very unstable with the present economy. This makes managing in any environment a tough task and one without reward. Labor is hard to find because unemployment benefits are easy to receive. Until our government helps with this situation, we are going to continue to die on the vine.

The industrial machinery industry is down 45% more than any time in recent history, which makes it a non-attractive industry to be in this economy. Food, drugs and medical equipment are much better.

For consumer products manufacturers, security in a company is at an all-time low and the prospects of finding that next career are even lower. It is a scary time for all.

Often concerned that our industry feels the effects of a shrinking economy last and is last to recover.

Working for a retailer, based on both current and long term conditions, is a concern. We do an outstanding job of controlling costs and provide excellent service, but are often treated as a secondary part of the process because we are not either a buyer or store employee.

Hope I’m not the last manufacturer left in Colorado.

I am personally in a good situation. I brought a broad area of experience with me to this company. They have tapped into my various skills. Material handling and distribution are benefitting annually from advances in technology. Finding staff capable of initiating new systems for improved efficiencies is difficult. We are located in a rural area and are limited by this in some ways.

The major challenge is working with our younger generation of workers who tend to have a poor work ethic, and no sense of accountability for what they do.

I took a 10% cut in pay and lost my 10% bonus due to the economy, and because I am 63, I probably will never get paid as much as I have in the past, but my medical insurance costs and income taxes and real estate taxes keep going up. I will probably work until I am 70. Was planning on retiring at 62.

Economic times have put a stop to salary increases, bonuses, hiring, travelling freezes, etc. Difficult time right now in the industry. Profits are down and expenses are all up.

Our company is lucky to be financially strong and growing in a down economy. We continue to need good employees and seek them out, train them and provide decent salaries and benefits. This has been a rewarding career and an exciting time to be in material management.

The current state of the economy has certainly had an effect on our company’s bottom line. Raises and bonuses have been frozen since fall of 2008. There will be projected increases in 2010, but my main concern is to contribute effectively so my company is strong enough to survive this current economic downturn. I want them to succeed! Any monetary gains will come if everyone pulls together and focuses on our overall success.

The vendor-client relationship has deteriorated to a point. With bottom lines as the seemingly main focus these days the issues of accommodation and flexibility have diminished. Being able to exchange or modify supply orders to reflect the change in supply and demand is become more and more critical to business survival. Anything that happens today either nationally or internationally can make or break you in a short period of time. There was a time when meaningful relationships were built with ethical and moral bonds that produced trust and loyalty in business related operations. A man’s word used to be the only bond necessary. If there is no bond you haven’t really got anything dependable to lean on.

Material handling is a mature market, with not a lot of new business.

In economic times like this I see two basic types of companies. The first type is a company looking to take advantage of the economy and to automate as much as possible while your budget has more purchasing power. So when the environment changes you are in the best position to take a lead position in your industry. The other approach is to freeze all expenses, cut costs by eliminating whatever you can and hold your breath, hoping things will take care of themselves. How many companies do you think make the correct choice for the reasons that are the best for the company?

Our company has become very top heavy and they have lost their way concerning the everyday working individual. It’s all about how hard they work at the top and how big a bonus they need to pay to supposedly keep people.

Our current facility is still stuck in the 1970s and we have not had any new conveyor updates in 30-some years.

About the Author

Dave Blanchard | Senior Director of Content

During his career Dave Blanchard has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeek, EHS Today, Material Handling & Logistics, Logistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. He also serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.