The average salary for quality professionals in 2016 remained relatively flat, according to ASQ Quality Progress magazine’s 30th annual salary survey.
The Quality Progress Salary Survey helps to outline the health of the quality profession and breaks down salary information—submitted by ASQ members—in 26 sections and sorts the results by variables including job title, education, years of experience and geographic location. This year’s survey was completed by more than 7,200 quality professionals from a range of industries and market sectors.
According to the 2016 results, average salaries increased 0.86 percent to $91,659 for full-time professionals in the United States. However, average salaries for quality professionals in Canada decreased 2.6 percent to $86,923*. The decrease can be attributed to the smaller number of respondents.
In 2016, the titles of the highest-paid quality professionals in the United States include vice president/executive (earning an average of $169,350), statisticians ($132,468), and directors ($130,902). In Canada, the top salary belongs to Master Black Belts and educators/instructors, who earn an average of $177,230.
While salaries in the United States remained flat, the percentage of respondents dissatisfied with their salaries decreased from 35 percent in 2015 to 27 percent this year—the lowest level since Quality Progress began monitoring employee satisfaction in 2014. Respondents are most satisfied with their pay when their employers pay for quality-related training and ASQ certifications, according to the survey.
“While salaries for quality professionals remain mostly unchanged from last year, support from senior leaders and their willingness to pay for quality training and ASQ certifications play a major role in the satisfaction of their employees,” says Pat La Londe, ASQ chairman. “It’s that training and those certifications that can help employees add value to the organization and increase its quality.”
While the average salary for full-time quality professionals increased slightly, there are steps workers can take to boost their pay, such as earning ASQ certifications.
Consistent with past results, those who hold ASQ certifications earn more than their non-credentialed colleagues. According to the survey, U.S. respondents with one ASQ certification earn more than $3,800 than those without any certifications. Those with two certifications earn nearly $6,200 more than those with only one certification.
Specifically, quality engineers who hold ASQ manager of quality/organizational excellence certification earn nearly 21 percent more than non-certified quality engineers. Specialists with ASQ quality auditor certification earn 17 percent more than non-certified specialists.
Another way to boost pay is completing Six Sigma training. The average salary increased from $83,004 to $100,361 for U.S. quality professionals who completed one or more Six Sigma training programs. In Canada, the average salary increased from $81,759 to $94,234 for those with Six Sigma training.
While any level of training offers a boost in pay, completing higher levels of Six Sigma training offers an opportunity for larger salary increases, according to the survey.
In the U.S., the greatest disparity is between Master Black Belts, who earn an average of $130,878, and Black Belts, who earn an average of $104,974. In Canada, the greatest premium comes with Black Belts, who earn nearly $18,000 more than Green Belts.
Results from the Quality Progress Salary Survey can be found in the December issue of Quality Progress magazine.
*All Canadian figures are noted in Canadian dollars.