Ever wonder how your pay stacks up against others in similar roles in Hall County?
You might get a hint by looking at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce 2018 Wage & Benefit Report.
It has served as a meaningful tool for Philip Wilheit Sr., head of Gainesville’s Wilheit Packaging.
That’s particularly true these days, with a surging economy and low jobless rate in the Hall County area, he said.
“We have such a competitive labor market,” Wilheit said. “I want to be sure that our pay, our benefits — our package, if you will — is competitive with other industries similar to us.”
The chamber’s recently released report is available in a PDF version or book format for $30 for chamber members and $50 for non-chamber members, but members, non-members and others can get a quick online summary.
The summary, based on responses from area companies/chamber members, gives a breakdown of average pay for jobs in several categories, including production, maintenance, human resources, finance and office.
Overall, 64 companies, agencies and public entities participated in the survey. Of those, about 20 responded to the wage survey.
Salaries range from $31,000 for a material handler and receptionist to $192,000 for a president/CEO.
The paid version of the survey goes into much deeper detail on pay scales, based on job descriptions, industry types and minimum salaries.
Also, data is divided between manufacturing and non-manufacturing businesses.
For example, the average pay is $199,490 for a manufacturing president/CEO and $184,017 for a non-manufacturing president/CEO.
The chamber started doing such surveys about 20 years ago.
“Regardless of where our economy is, our employers need to stay competitive,” said Shelley Davis, the chamber’s vice president for existing industry. “We want healthy competition … and for businesses to be sustainable and continue to grow, which is our economic development objective.”
Over the years, the survey has helped companies make internal decisions, but there’s an external component, as well, Davis said.
“We have companies (outside Hall) that are looking to possibly locate here and they’re trying to determine if this location or another county, state or country would be better for them to be in,” she said.
About 10 years ago, the chamber added survey questions about benefits and pay practices/policies, such as how a company addresses pay raises, vacation and sick leave, as well as general attendance.
“You never want to be at the very lowest of the pay practices or the very highest,” Davis said. “(The highest) will put you out of business and the (lowest) — well, you want to keep your employees and (if you lose them), that will also put you out of business.”
The chamber doesn’t just annually survey on pay practices. The last findings — in 2017 — showed, among other things, that employees got an average pay increase of 3.09 percent, 10 percent of the workforce is temporary employees, and the average amount of days for paid bereavement is 3 days.
The 2018 survey did consider other benefits and found that, in general, medical insurance costs would not be “further shifted to employees,” that companies provided short- and long-term disability and companies had a “retirement (option) in a defined contribution plan.”
“I feel like it is always good to be able to have a benchmark information, whether that is for wages or benefits, for comparative purposes,” said Bill Moats, human resources director for Hall County.
“Employers can benefit greatly from this type of information, as considerations are given to things like pay increases or decisions related to the overall compensation program.”
Elke Yath, human resources manager for Mincey Marble, said the wage survey “is very valuable to us.:
“It helps us stay on top of trends in the local labor market and it provides guidance for us to make sound salary budgeting decisions,” Yath said. “The goal is to offer salaries that are fair and competitive relative to our industry, so that we can attract and retain the best people.”
Alex George, plant manager at PPG in Oakwood, agreed.
“We use the data to remain competitive in the marketplace and to attract and retain qualified employees,” he said.
The average pay of jobs as reported by 20-plus companies responding to a Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce survey:
Semi-complex machine operator: $38,000
Lead worker: $40,000
Quality manager: $83,000
Facilities maintenance worker: $42,000
Maintenance mechanic: $50,000
Material handler: $31,000
Forklift operator: $33,000
Shipping and receiving clerk: $35,000
Shipping/receiving manager: $67,000
Human resource generalist: $60,000
Safety and health professional: $75,000
Human resources manager: $91,000
Accounting clerk: $40,000
Finance manager: $95,000
Customer Service representative: $42,000
Administrative assistant: $47,000
Sales representative: $69,000
Operations manager: $119,000