Quality professional salary and job satisfaction in 2015 have shown the largest percentage increase year-over-year since 2007, according to Quality Progress magazine’s annual Salary Survey, which acts as an indicator of the health of the quality profession.
This year’s quality professional salary and job satisfaction survey was completed by more than 8,500 quality professionals from a broad range of industries and market sectors.
According to the survey, salaries increased 2.78 percent in 2015 to an average of $90,878 for full-time quality professionals in the United States.
In Canada, the increase was found to be more significant, with quality professionals making CAD $89,140 in 2015, compared with CAD $82,388 in 2014.
In 2015, the highest paid quality professionals in the U.S. by job title included vice president/executive (who made an average of $165,299), directors ($130,791), and master black belts ($127,875).
Although average salaries increased notably in 2015, nearly 35 percent of respondents were dissatisfied with their salary, up from 28 percent in 2014.
The survey also revealed that 74 percent of respondents were satisfied with their jobs, up from 69.8 percent the previous year.
ASQ Chair Cecilia Kimberlin said quality professionals continue to play a key role in the organizations they serve and the increase in average pay shows that companies value the work they perform.
“Despite the increase in salaries, not all quality professionals are happy with their pay,” Kimberlin said. “They often look to other perks, like opportunities for training and certifications, to boost their careers and enhance their organization’s quality.”
Quality Professional Salary Satisfaction and Paid Training
The survey data revealed disparities among workers whose employer values—and pays for—training and certification opportunities.
Of those who said they were satisfied with their salary, 62.4 percent revealed that their employer paid for their ASQ certification, and 62.2 percent said their ASQ certifications enhance their value in their employer’s eyes.
Of those who reported being dissatisfied with their salaries, 43.4 percent said their company does not pay for ASQ certifications, and 43.5 percent said they don’t believe their employer sees the value of ASQ certifications.
Although 59.4 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their salary, nearly 75 percent of respondents reported being happy with their job in general.
Furthermore, 40.9 percent of those unsatisfied with their salary said their company had no quality system or method, meanwhile 54.1 percent of those happy with their salary reported the same.
Increasing Earnings with Certification
Unsurprisingly, respondents who held ASQ certifications earned more than their counterparts with no certifications; however, unlike previous years, the number of certifications held didn’t necessarily equate to a higher level of pay.
According to the survey, 42 percent of respondents with no certifications earned an average of $87,015, while the 34.3 percent with one certification earned $89,533 and those with two, 13.2 percent, earned $97,369.
Those with three certifications earned an average of $102,243, while the salary for those with four certifications dropped slightly to $100,996. This was even more pronounced for respondents with five certifications, dropping to $99,327. The number of respondents with four certifications drops to 2.8 percent, while those with five certifications drops to 0.9 percent.
For the few respondents with six or more certifications, pay was found to increase to an average of $115,024.
- Managers with a reliability engineer certification were found to earn an average of $25,390 more than non-certified counterparts.
- Project engineers who obtain a manager of quality/organizational excellence certification make an average of $105,332—$23,285 more than project engineers without the same certification.
- Auditors who hold a Six Sigma black belt certification earn an average of $16,594 more than auditors without certification.
Experience Equals Higher Salaries
Like certifications, those with more years of experience earn more than those who are newer to the industry.
Among full-time respondents in the United States, those with 20 or more years of experience in the quality field averaged $106,300 in 2015, up from $103,796 the previous year.
In contrast, respondents with less than a year of experience in 2015 earned an average of $61,447, down from $62,433 in 2014.
ASQ members can view the entire QP quality professional salary and job satisfaction survey results at qualityprogress.com/salarysurvey. During December, a portion of the report will be available through QP’s digital edition, which can be accessed at qualityprogress.com.