Salary Survey 2006


LubesnGreases has completed its Lubricants Industry Salary Survey, now conducted every other year. Information was gathered directly from individuals who work for lubricant manufacturers and distributors, and was compiled and analyzed by an independent statistical firm. We present the results in this trio of exclusive reports.

October: Plant Managers

November: SalesandMarketing Executives


If you hear cheerful whistling coming from the lubricant sales and marketing department these days, it might be originating in the managers office.

Sales and marketing managers responding to LubesnGreases 2006 Salary Survey report they earn an average of $104,255 a year now -about10percenthigherthan they did two years ago. The median pay reported is $100,000, also 10 percent above the 2004 median.

Advances in compensation were reported across the board, at both lube manufacturing companies and at lube distributorships. The gap between those working at lube producers and those at lube jobbers is nearly $30,000 a year, however.

Geographically,the best median compensation is paid to managers in the Southwest United States, the lowest in the Southeast. And nearly two in three respondents said theyve received raises in the past year.

Painting a Portrait

The typical sales and marketing manager responding to the 2006 Salary Survey is 49.5 years old, and has been with his or her current employer 10.6 years. In all, the survey participants have an average 20.2 years of relevant work experience, whether they work for a lube blender or a lube distributor. The managers at lube distributorships have held their job longer,however,with an average of 8.9 years of seasoning in their current positions, compared to just 5.7 years for those at lube manufacturers.

Only a small number of the survey participants in this job category – barely one in 20 -were women, a level which has not budged from the prior survey,two years ago.

One-third of our respondents are with smaller companies having 50 or fewer employees, while 19 percent work for companies ranging in size from 51 to 200 employees. The rest are with outfits staffed by more than 200 people. Thats important, because as company size goes up, the sales/marketing execs reported compensation does as well, with the smallest companies paying an average $87,000 a year, versus $122,800 at the largest.

Youll find an average staff size of nine people reporting to our sales/marketing respondents. Its a little higher for those with lube distributors, alittle lower in the manufacturing arena. The mean number of people supervised is six, for all respondents.

ACLS Difference?

So how can a sales and marketing manager step up to a job with the biggest lube companies? Earn between $6,000 and $30,000 more each year than his or her peers? Stop the aging process and shave three years off the calendar?

Maybe by becoming a Certified Lubrication Specialist, respondents to our 2006 Salary Survey tell us. Forty-nine of the 248 sales and marketing managers who responded to the survey -20percent -indicated they hold CLS credentials. And as a group, theyve done pretty well for themselves.

The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers launched the Certified Lubrication Specialist program 10 years ago, explains Robert Gresham, director of professional development at the Park Ridge, Ill., association. Its goal was to identify those individuals who demonstrate an extra measure of knowledge and training in the field of lubricants. At the time, it was hoped that a rigorous certification program would increase the recognition of professionals in the industry -and perhaps raise the level of compensation as well.

Curious as to whether that hope has been realized, and with STLEs cooperation, LubesnGreases this year asked individuals whether they currently hold CLS credentials, and then analyzed the differences.

According to our participants, CLS and non-CLS respondents share some similarities. They all average about 20 years of experience, for example. The CLS members supervise an average staff of 7.4 people, non-CLS supervise 9.4 people, but the median staff size for both is 6. As for the age-defying properties of CLS, sorry,thats a fantasy. But the average age for CLS respondents really is 47 -three years younger than the average non-CLSsales and marketing manager.

There are notable differences, as well. Eighty percent of the CLS sales and marketing managers say they work for lubricant manufacturers, the rest for lube distributors. Of non-CLS respondents, only 58 percent work for manufacturers while 42 percent toil at distributorships. Since distributors tend to pay less, this pulled down the average pay reported by non-CLS respondents.

Farmore of the CLS respondents said they work for verylarge companies, as well, with 68 percent of them parking their feet under the desk at companies with more than 500 employees. Its just the opposite with non-CLSers, half of whom work for companies with less than 100 employees. Only 31 percent of them said they work for companies in the 500-plus employee range.

When it comes to total compensation, the average CLS respondent working as a sales and marketing manager at a lube manufacturer says he or she earns $119,561 a year. The non-CLS respondents report they take home $113,112 a year from the lube manufacturing side, which is over $6,000 less.

The gap widens to a chasm for those working at distributors. CLS respondents who work for distributors average $111,700 a year,while the non-CLS respondents report they make an average $82,125 – nearly $30,000 less.

Why these differences? Gresham observed that its not possible to tell whether CLSers are paid more because they are able to land jobs at major oil companies, or if they have more chance to achieve CLS because they work at a heavyweight. Theres a chicken-and-egg aspect to it, which one comes first, he conceded. A lot of majors encourage their people to get CLS, but whether any require it for employment or not, I don’t know.

Either way, he added, Its gratifying to see that CLS people seem to be rising to the top. Back 15 years ago, before CLS started, there were not a lot of professional standards in the lubricants business, and I think that this survey shows the industrys commitment to developing and recognizing excellence in the field of lubrication. A big part of that has been training employees and documenting their proficiency,and CLS plays into that. The program shows which individuals have additional business-related training and documents it.

This quality-conscious trend is spreading now from the major oil companies to their distributors, Gresham said. In the next five years, he predicted, youre going to see a shifting of the CLS participants to where more are coming from distributors. The majors are beginning to encourage it, and its part of a trend where industry expects higher performance all around, not only at the majors, but also at the distributors, the end-users and others. They all expect to see it in their people as well as in their products.

More Ways to Win

Dont have the letters CLS on your business card? Another way to see a bump in compensation may be for sales and marketing executives to change jobs. On average, those who have been in their current position for less than five years say they make$105,700 a year. Those who have been in their current spot for more than five years say they are paid just under $102,000 a year. This suggests that a fresh hire may be an opportunity to negotiate higher compensation.

Or maybe its time to go West, as Horace Greeley urged. Sales and marketing executives in the Northwest and Southwest report median compensation of $102,500 and $105,000 a year -versus just $95,000 in the Northeast and $90,000 in the Southeast.

Or maybe enlarge your own fiefdom. The larger the staff under a managers direct supervision, the larger the rewards, participants indicate. Survey respondents who have five or fewer employees to supervise say they make an average of $100,900 a year. That rises to an average $118,500 with a workforce of six to 12, and reaches a very rewarding $132,000 for those who have 12 or more employees reporting to them.

Or, be patient and just wait where you are. About two-thirds of the respondents received a pay raise in the past year,and almost 70 percent say they expect to receive a bonus for their performance this year. Commissions, by the way,are anticipated by half of those working for lube distributors, but only 22 percent of the sales/marketing respondents who are with lube manufacturers.

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