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ASE’s 2021 Michigan Compensation Survey Shows Employers Remain Conservative

June 16, 2021

By Jason Rowe, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

The impact of the pandemic, and its resulting recession, created many challenges for employers.  While compliance and safety may have taken center stage, employee rewards and wages were also affected by COVID-19.  Data from the most recent ASE compensation survey shows that overall wage growth in Michigan, based on a matched sample of companies (referred to as a constant sample), was just 2.1%.

Over 300 companies responded to ASE’s 2021 Michigan Compensation Survey, making it once again the most comprehensive source of employer-reported compensation data in the State of Michigan. Due to the economic effects of the pandemic, employers were conservative with wage increases.

The data also revealed, however, that some job families increased at rates higher than the overall survey average. This year’s data shows that the Production / Manufacturing job family experienced a 2.8% increase year over year.  Light Assembly climbed to $15.14 per hour, up more than 6% from the previous year.

Additional Highlights from ASE’s 2021 Michigan Compensation Survey:

  • The Detroit area saw slightly higher wage increases. Based on a constant sample of companies, the metro Detroit area increased 2.3% year-over-year (compared with an average of 2.1% statewide).  The constant sample represents companies who reported data in both 2020 and 2021.
  • Merit increase budgets, what a company budgets for performance-based pay increases, averaged 2.8% for 2021.  This is slightly above levels seen in 2020, and more consistent with 2019 merit budgets.

In addition to the flagship compensation survey, ASE has also published the results of the highly anticipated 2021 National Executive Compensation Survey. This survey captures data on 48 executive-level positions using data from co-sponsoring employer associations across the country.

Executives in production and manufacturing positions are projected to see average wage increases of 3.8% or higher in 2021 – Plant Manager (3.8%), Manufacturing Director (Multi-Facility) (4.7%), and Manufacturing Manager (Single-Facility) (3.8%).

Roles with notable average projected wage increases in 2021 compared to 2020 are:

  • Chief Staff Legal Counsel: 6.3% in 2021 vs. 4.3% in 2020
  • Chief Information Officer: 5.7% in 2021 vs. 4.6% in 2020
  • Chief Marketing Executive (Excluding Sales): 5.3% in 2021 vs. 4.4% in 2020
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