1999 Maintenance Salaries

Income of maintenance and reliability personnel varies widely. Our second annual survey provides some figures for checking your position.

How does your income match up with others in the maintenance and reliability community? It may be hard to find out where you stand because income figures vary so widely almost any way the data are tabulated. That is what MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Magazine found out in its first two surveys of reader income. This year, respondents' income ranged from $22,500 to $112,000.

Average income of all readers responding to the survey was $63,365, somewhat more than the $58,748 registered last year. Salaried readers averaged $67,354, while readers paid on an hourly basis (22 percent of the respondents, the same as last year) averaged $49,182.

The survey was conducted over a random sample of magazine readers (except for subscribers affiliated with consultants and contract services), and we believe the data are representative of maintenance and reliability leadership.

Salaried personnel often have worked in the maintenance crafts or trades, as is the case with 44 percent of this year's respondents. Overall, 63 percent of survey respondents have worked in the maintenance trades or crafts: 50 percent as electricians, 65 percent as mechanics, and 36 percent in more than one trade, including HVAC/R technician, millwright, pipe fitter, and stationary engineer.

Age and income profile
The first of the accompanying charts are histograms of age and income of survey respondents. The age chart, with frequencies displayed in 5-year increments, shows about half the respondents were between 45 and 55 years old, with the midpoint and average close to 46. The income chart shows that about half the respondents received between $50,000 and $75,000 in annual income. The midpoint was $61,300, slightly lower than the average of $63,365.

The scatter chart that plots income versus age grouped by decades shows the wide variance of income within each of the groupings. Average income rose with age from about $43,000 for respondents in their 20s and then leveled out at slightly more than $66,000 when respondents reached their 50s.

How do respondents feel about their level of compensation in relation to their job responsibilities? More than half believe their pay is about right (53 percent), and a few felt it was generous (4 percent). The rest thought their pay was too low. Compensation policies Several survey questions dealt with compensation policies. First, respondents were asked if any of their pay was based on performance and, if so, in what sectors. Personal or individual performance led the list at 51 percent, followed by company performance at 41 percent, department performance at 27 percent, and team performance at 13 percent. (In most cases, percentages have been rounded to whole numbers, and they may total more than 100 in some categories where multiple answers were possible.)

Nearly 46 percent of respondents received a bonus last year. (Total income, including bonus income, was the income figure used throughout the study.) Of those receiving bonuses, 62 percent had some amount of their income at risk and subject to reduction if certain conditions were not met.

Education and registration
As expected, average income rose with the level of education. More than 63 percent of the respondents indicated they had some type of college degree. Average income rose from $54,232 for respondents with associate degrees, to $69,267 for respondents with bachelor degrees, and to $74,063 for respondents with advanced degrees. Average income for respondents not reporting their education level was $58,526, slightly above those with associate degrees. The chart showing income by education level shows that although the trend of the average is upward with increased formal education, there is a wide spread within each grouping. Slightly more than 17 percent of respondents were registered professional engineers (17 respondents) or certified plant engineers (18 respondents). Average income of this group was higher than the average income of all respondents. Professional engineers received an average income of $73,254 while certified plant engineers received an average income of $59,862.

Involvement and responsibility
All respondents were involved in or responsible for plant equipment maintenance and reliability. That is the basic qualifying question on the application to receive MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY, and all respondents receive the magazine. However, they work at different levels and have varying responsibilities within the enterprise.

Respondents were asked to choose their level of involvement. Average income was $84,055 for corporate or multiplant involvement, $56,023 for plant management level, $66,013 for maintenance or reliability manager level, $65,049 for supervisor level, and $55,624 for maintenance engineer or technician level. The chart shows a wide spread of income within each involvement sector.
Respondents also were asked about their job responsibility in three broad sectors (12 separate categories):

  • Managing responsibilities sector: Department performance, hiring maintenance personnel, budgeting, and time management/supervision of others.
  • Designing/buying responsibilities sector: Engineering/design, management of contract services, ordering or specifying plant equipment, and ordering or specifying tools or supplies.
  • Hands-on responsibilities sector: Hands-on planning of maintenance work orders, hands-on predictive maintenance analysis, hands-on troubleshooting of equipment, and hands-on maintenance or repair of equipment.

The average respondent had job responsibilities in six of the 12 categories, with 59 percent having responsibilities in all three sectors. When grouped by sectors, 81 percent of respondents had some responsibility in the managing sector, 91 percent had some responsibilities in the designing/buying sector, and 80 percent had some responsibilities in the hands-on sector. Average income for persons having some responsibility in the sectors was $65,407 in managing, $62,621 in designing/buying, and $59,269 in hands-on.

Income by industry
The industry classifications on the MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Magazine qualification form were used to learn which industries were represented in the study. Results were combined into four general sectors (processing, manufacturing, utilities, and facilities) to facilitate analysis. Average income for industry sectors was $70,360 for process industries, $63,267 for manufacturing industries, $68,887 for utilities (electricity, gas, water), and $55,837 for facilities (government, hospitals, colleges, office buildings, etc.).

Apparent satisfaction People involved in or responsible for equipment maintenance and reliability tended to be satisfied with this profession and their employer. Their average tenure is 20 years with their present employer and 17 years in the reliability and maintenance field. When asked if, when looking to the future, they would recommend maintenance and reliability work as a career choice, the answer was yes by nearly a 10 to 1 margin. MT


Questionnaires were sent to a random sample of MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY Magazine's 53,000 readers, minus those involved in consulting and contract services. A total of 216 responses were received and processed. No monetary incentives were used (however, respondents who faxed or sent their name and address separately will be provided a copy of the results). Averages and other indicators were based on a sample size that varied because all respondents did not answer all questions.