Industry Salary Survey Reports Mixed Results

Like most things in the business world, salaries, bonuses and benefits for solid waste industry professionals are subject to the law of supply and demand, according to a recent survey conducted by Kim-mel & Associates, Asheville, N.C.

As companies downsize and corporate mergers and acquisitions continue, more mid-level managers with operations and financial experience are on the job market. Con-sequently, many of these managers are receiving lower compensation than at their previous job. For ex-ample, of the hauling managers surveyed who had taken a new po-sition in the last two years, base salary had dropped 6 to 10 percent from previous levels.

On the other hand, salaries have increased to attract key professionals to a small group of public waste companies which have been operating for less than five years and have experienced more than 25 percent growth through sales and acquisitions. For example, a waste industry executive at these firms could be compensated 10 to 20 percent higher than previously re-corded.

Over the past two years, base salary levels throughout the industry have generally stayed the same or have increased only 2 to 5 percent. More firms are considering incentive- or performance-based compensation to supplement static salaries and to reward exceptional performance. For example, managers of profitable operations are rewarded with bonuses; those with marginal operations tend to receive little or no bonus.

The compensation for general managers of hauling and landfill companies varied from $45,000 to $86,000. This range may be at-tributed to regional and size differences among the waste companies. These managers received bonuses up to 55 percent of their base sal-ary.

Other respondents received the following bonus levels:

* 24 percent received no bonus;

* 20 percent received 10 to 20 percent of their base salary;

* 8 percent received bonuses in the 20 to 40 percent range;

* 11 percent received 40 to 55 percent of their base salary; and

* the remainder received bonuses of less than 10 percent of their sal-ary.

Another 10 percent received ap-proximately $45,000 per year, with the potential to double their salary through incentive plans.

Most multiple site managers re-sponsible for operating at least $1 million per month received an average salary of $72,800 and average bonuses of $29,894.

In general, managers of landfills, hauling, safety and maintenance as well as technical staff, such as engineers and compliance managers, received smaller bonuses. About half of the surveyed individuals with salaries between $32,000 and $50,000 received nominal bo-nuses. On the other hand, 40 percent of those surveyed received no bonus at all. However, 10 percent of the respondents who worked for large operations with monthly revenues of more than $1 million re-ceived bonuses up to 25 percent of their base salary.

Benefit packages are broken into three categories: insurance, transportation and profit sharing. With the rising costs of medical care, health insurance has become one of the most important - and most expensive - components of compensation packages. Over the last two years, many companies began deducting a larger percentage of health care costs from their em-ployees' salaries rather than completely covering the costs. In addition, more companies are using health maintenance organizations, cafeteria or managed health care plans to reduce overhead costs even more.

Furthermore, this year's survey found that fewer firms are providing company vehicles. Although car allowances have leveled out at ap-proximately $450 per month, mileage reimbursement has in-creased to 30 cents per mile. In comparison, the 1993-94 Salary Survey reported that 30 percent of respondents used company vehicles, 33 percent had car allowances and 14 percent received mileage re-imbursement.

The survey showed a dramatic increase in company-sponsored 401K plans and other profit sharing instruments at small and mid-sized companies. For example, more than 90 percent of those surveyed had a 401K or other profit sharing plan. Issuing company stock also has increased, although the volume share of stock issued has declined.

For more information on the 1995 Waste Industry Salary Sur-vey, contact: Kimmel & Associates, 25 Page Ave., Asheville, N.C. 28801. (704) 251-9900. Fax (704) 251-9955.