After several years of encouraging numbers and growth, the results of Machinery Lubrication’s 2014 salary survey reveal a slight downturn in income levels for lubrication professionals in the United States. This year the average salary dropped to $79,000, which was a 4-percent decline from a year ago and the lowest recorded figure since 2011. Fewer workers also reported receiving bonuses and other benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) and profit sharing. Although more than three-fourths of respondents received raises in 2014, the vast majority only saw an increase of 1 to 5 percent.
The aging of the U.S. workforce is becoming more evident with each passing year, as more than 21 percent of survey participants are now older than 60 years of age, which is an increase of almost 10 percent from just three years ago. More than one-third of workers are between 50 and 59 years of age, with the average age jumping to 50. Meanwhile, the number of respondents younger than 40 has fallen to just 23 percent. The most notable change in salary was seen from age 20 to 30 when an increase of more than 25 percent occurred. However, salaries quickly leveled off after age 30 and rose only slightly until reaching retirement age.
Just as in previous years, location was a major factor in compensation rates. The Northeast once again recorded the highest average salary by region at $86,742. However, most respondents live in the Midwest, Southeast or Southwest regions where salaries were lower.
According to this year’s survey, education and training continue to offer workers a direct path to higher income levels, with salaries increasing consistently with each degree achieved. While most respondents had completed some college work but had no degree, those with a college degree earned up to 20 percent more on average. Likewise, professional certification could be linked to higher salaries, as those with at least one professional certification were more likely to have received a raise in the past year and earn more than those without any certifications. The certifications that respondents most often listed as being paid more for were the International Council for Machinery Lubrication’s Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I, II and III certifications as well as the Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I and II certifications.
On the job, survey respondents reported working fewer hours than in previous years but still average well more than 40 hours each week. The average length of service was 15 years, although many reported well over 40 years on the job. Job satisfaction remained high, with 75 percent of respondents satisfied or very satisfied with their job. Challenge and stimulation were the main factors contributing to job satisfaction, while lack of management support and lack of recognition were the things workers most often disliked about their jobs.