Posted on Kentucky Association of Manufacturers – See article in original source

By Shawn Herbig in December, 2010

There are a lot of workforce-related questions that employers are (or should be) asking themselves these days. Questions like:
Are my company’s HR practices in line with the best practices in KY?
Is my company’s pay competitive?
How will the changing economy impact our workforce?

In short, companies want to how they compare.

Recently KAM released the findings of the 2010 Wage and Benefits Study. I am proud that IQS Research has conducted the Wage and Benefits Study for KAM for the last three surveys. When you are working on a study like this one, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes effort that takes place; answering questions from over 200 participating companies, working to make sure all data are input accurately, and assisting with clarification for unusual employment situations. We then move to the compilation of the results to ensure that all information is recorded and analyzed correctly so that we can move to the publication stage.

When all of that is done, we actually get to sit down with the study and digest the information. While we read the study from a statistical perspective when it is being prepared, this second read allows us to put on our “employer hat” and read the study through the eyes of someone who is using this information to make personnel decisions. This is when the study really takes on a new life. And yes, it is true, we are geeks and actually do enjoy sitting down and reading studies of all kinds, including wage and benefits studies.

As an employer, I am always interested in the latest personnel trends so that I can ensure my best people stay with the company. You likely feel the same way. If so, you should perhaps consider performing an HR benefits comparison. Within the study you can find the information to compare your company’s offerings for sick time, PTO days, vacation eligibility, holidays, and insurance deductibles, premiums, and coverage. There are other measures as well.

Using information you already have about your company’s plan, as well as information from the study, you can make a direct comparison between your offering and that of your peer manufacturers. This will point out any areas where your offerings are weaker or stronger than your peer set.

If you are concerned about pay and compensation, you can conduct a job-by-job pay comparison for your positions. The pay information is provided as a comparison to other companies in your region or the state. For each job, you not only receive the average hourly wage paid but also the percentiles (wage distribution) for each job to help you better determine where your exact pay range should be. To this information, you can also include other pay measures, such as how your company calculates overtime.

For instance, in the 2010 study the average annual manufacturing salary exceeded $50,000 for the first time. This includes both line workers and management positions and represents a 7.2% increase from the last survey. While most positions witnessed salary increases for this study, some positions actually witnessed a decrease. As you are setting compensation for 2011, you likely want to know what others in the market are paying.

If you are considering hiring additional employees in 2011, you may want to know what background checks other employers are conducting, or what percentage of employers are considering direct hire versus using temporary workers.

The bottom line is that in business we all need trustworthy information that we can rely on – free of bias, free from an agenda, just the facts. The KAM Wage and Benefits Study has been that trustworthy source for the past 99 years. Hopefully your company was one of the over 200 companies that participated in this year’s study. If so, I hope you are using and enjoying the complimentary regional report your company received from KAM for participating in the survey.

If your company didn’t participate you can still purchase this year’s statewide and regional reports directly from KAM.

That reminds me, 2011 will mark the 100-year anniversary of the KAM Wage and Benefits study. A lot of changes that have taken place during the last century and we will spend part of the 2011 calendar year highlighting some of those changes.

KAM and IQS Research are already beginning preparations now to make year 100 our best ever. Data collections will begin in summer and the study will be published next fall.

So in addition to using the information from the 2010 study, make a mental note now to be a part of the 2011 centennial edition next year.

If you have technical questions about KAM’s 2010 Wage & Benefits Study please contact Shawn Herbig, President of IQS Research, at sherbig@iqsresearch.com or by calling 502-244-6600.

If you would like to purchase a copy of one or more of KAM’s 2010 Wage & Benefits Study reports or have an interest in being a statewide or regional sponsor of KAM’s 2011 centennial edition please contact Ken Carroll, KAM Vice President, at k.carroll@
KAManufacturers.com or by calling 502-352-2485.