Economic analysts are beginning to see positive signs of recession recovery in all industries, including meat and poultry. Processing companies are beginning to see profits rise and employees of these firms are feeling more positive and satisfied in their jobs. These attitudes are reflected in the results from this year’s Annual Salary Survey and Job Satisfaction Report. For 25 years, Meat&Poultry has published the results of the industry’s only salary and job satisfaction survey in an effort to provide M&P readers with a toll to stay more competitive with their competition. Space within the magazine does not allow publishing the entire database of information collected during this study, conducted by Kansas City, Mo.-based Cypress Research Associates. The following pages only include a snapshot of all the data collected and analyzed. However, readers interested in receiving more in-depth information about this or previous year’s surveys are encouraged to contact the editors at: [email protected].

Demographic differences

It has been three years since the M&P Annual Salary Survey and Job Satisfaction Report surveyed small to mid-size meat and poultry processing companies (with annual sales of less than $100 million). This year’s survey was distributed to approximately 2,000 management-level processing company employees. Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of the respondents reported working for companies with sales of less than $35 million (5.3 percent between $25 million and $34.9 million; 7.6 percent between $15 million and $24.9 million; and 52.3 percent less than $15 million). Most of the respondents’ firms (46.6 percent) employ less than 25 people. Companies employing between 25 and 99 people make up 14.8 percent of those surveyed; 15.9 percent were from companies with 100 to 199 workers; and 22.7 percent were from larger firms, with more than 200 employees.

Trending positive

With economic challenges still lingering, compensation results show conservative, yet positive trends. When asked to compare total cash compensation between 2009 and 2010, respondents in all eight categories reported increases in line or above the 3 percent-4 percent national average. CEOs were on the lower end, with a 3.1 percent total cash compensation year-to-year increase, possibly depicting that their willingness to financially “take one for the team.” Plant/general managers and sales and marketing managers reported a larger increase, 5.8 percent from 2009 to 2010. With sales positions often having some version of a performance-based compensation package, the 5.8 percent increase could indicate small to mid-size companies are on the mend financially.

The job satisfaction portion of the survey examines how different factors contribute to overall satisfaction of those surveyed. Based on a sevenpoint scale (where 7 = “extremely satisfied”) the mean score for overall satisfaction with salary was average at 5.6 (up from 5.2 in 2007 when small to midsize processors were last surveyed). “Work conditions” and “Amount of responsibility you have” reflected the highest increase in mean scores from 2007 to 2010 with an increase from 5.4 to 6.0 for “work conditions” and a rise from 5.5 to 6.1 for “amount of responsibility.” In the area of training and development, all categories saw an increase from 2007 to 2010 except for “company supports professional development through tuition reimbursement and formal training (that average satisfaction rating fell from 4.4 to 4.0).

The percentage of respondents who reported working for a company in a hiring freeze was 32.6 percent (up from 11.3 percent in 2007); 22.5 percent reported their company was in a salary freeze. Additionally, companies hiring within existing positions to meet increased production requirements fell from 37.9 percent to 18 percent and companies creating new positions fell from 25.4 percent to 16.9 percent. These numbers may indicate that either these small to midsize companies are still struggling because of the worldwide recession, or they are choosing not to have salary increases and additional hiring to be conservative as the economy continues improving. •

Research and analysis for the annual salary survey is conducted by Marjorie Troxel Hellmer, president of Kansas City, Mo.-based Cypress Research Associates (