Tech Talent Pay Tops $121,000


U.S. technical, laboratory and R&D managers who responded to the LubesnGreases 2012 Lubricants Industry Salary Survey said they earn an average of $121,400. The median compensation reported was $114,000.

In 2010, the technical managers who responded to the survey, which is conducted every other year, reported average compensation of $112,800 a year. The median was $102,000.

That suggests a positive trend for technical managers pay, but the magazines editors emphasize that direct comparisons from survey to survey should be avoided because the number and pool of voluntary respondents varies each time.

LubesnGreases gathers information about compensation from individuals employed by lubricant manufacturers and marketers in three job categories: plant managers, sales and marketing professionals, and laboratory/technical managers. The individual responses are compiled by an independent statistical firm and never seen by anyone at the magazine or LNG Publishing Co.

In both the 2010 and 2012 surveys, all of the technical managers that responded work for lubricant manufacturers. None worked for distributors that do not make lubricants.

More than 65 percent of the 81 technical managers who took part in the latest survey said they received a raise in the past 12 months. Almost 67 percent in 2012 also said they expect a bonus.

Company size played a key role in pay, survey respondents answers suggest. Technical managers working for companies with 10 or fewer employees said they receive $80,000 a year, both on average and as median. For those at mid-size companies of 51 to 100 employees, the average is $102,355, while the median is $90,000 a year. Technical manager respondents with the top-size companies (501 employees or more) report average pay of $163,072 and a median of $160,000. Thirty-six percent of this years respondents indicated they work for the top-size companies.

Regardless of their size, companies that want to attract the best technical people need a good career page on their web site, says Ken Pelczarski of Pelichem Associates, a Downers Grove, Ill., recruiting firm specializing in the lubricants and chemical industries. Look at employee referrals and encourage them. Word of mouth is the best way to hire people.

In terms of geographic area, median compensation was highest among technical managers in the Southwest U.S. states, at $210,000. Those in the Southeast reported the lowest median pay at $80,000.

Relocating is a huge issue, said recruiter Tom Warren. There are so many talented people who cannot or will not relocate. Two out of three people dont want to move their residence. They wont move for an opportunity. People who are willing to move have better opportunities.

The typical technical, laboratory or R&D manager who responded to the 2012 survey is 52 years old with 24 years of industry experience. He or she has been with their current employer 14 years (eight in their job), and supervises a staff of five people. Thirteen of the 81 respondents (16.4 percent) identify themselves as female.

Unlike the sales and marketing side, where CLS certification is linked to higher pay, technical managers indicated no such boost in 2012. Almost 15 percent of technical managers (12 individuals) said they hold CLS credentials. CLS-certified managers reported median pay of $113,250, while those with no CLS certification reported $114,000.

The complete LubesnGreases 2012 Lubricants Industry Salary Survey report is available only in digital .pdf format for $100, or $35 for the sales/marketing executives survey alone. Order online at

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