SI Review: June 2011


Research Report: Industry compensation

Are You Underpaid?

New compensation data reveals patterns in industry comp

Based on a survey of internal staffing employees, Staffing Industry Analysts recently released a compensation estimator tool that generates median pay based on geography as well as job title, company size and skill segment served. A number of interesting patterns emerge from these data.

For instance, median 2010 compensation for the highest-paid execs — CEOs, chairmen and presidents — at large staffing firms was 50 percent higher than at small firms.

But temporary and permanent recruiters at larger firms made 11 percent less than those at small firms.

Median compensation for all job titles at staffing firms of all sizes was $55,000.

Typically, the higher a person’s title and the larger the firm, the more he or she made — as might be expected. If a person handled professional temporary staffing or direct hire, he or she typically received more compensation than someone in commercial temporary staffing. However, as seen above, there are exceptions.

“Our data also help answer the question: does size matter? The consensus is a resounding yes, if you’re in upper management,” said Robert Balicki, research associate at Staffing Industry Analysts. “Whereas compensation barely changes across company size for recruiters, service representatives and salespersons, median salaries are 50 percent higher for CEOs, chairman, presidents and COOs in large firms, compared to those in small firms.”

Staffing Industry Analysts’ compensation data comes from a survey of staffing company internal workers by Quantum Workplace, an Omaha, Neb.-based firm. Respondents were asked about their total compensation for 2010 including salary, bonus and other incentive compensation. Results of that survey were also the basis of Staffing Industry Analysts’ “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” list (see SI Review, April 2011).

Survey information includes more than 7,000 responses from 103 companies. Safeguards have been taken to ensure that no personally identifiable information is available to the end user of the survey data.

Job Title

Median compensation for those with the title of CEO, chairman, president or chief operating officer for firms of all sizes was $225,000 — the highest among all job titles. That’s up 32 percent from the group with the next-highest compensation, vice presidents of sales, with a median compensation of $170,000.

The difference was not nearly as great in some other instances. The top quartile of branch managers had median compensation of $95,000, just 5 percent less than the median compensation of a head of marketing and 11 percent less than the median compensation for a division head.

By Size

Top management fared much better at larger companies.

For example, compensation of CFOs or vice presidents of finance at staffing firms with 201 or more internal employees was 57 percent higher than at firms with 50 or fewer internal employees.

In general, management compensation was more sensitive to firm size.

But for temporary and direct-hire recruiters, if anything, smaller appears to be better. Both groups made a median 11 percent less at firms with 201 or more employees than those at firms with 50 or fewer employees. This was a slight difference, so it could reflect statistical noise, but in any case it was clear recruiters did not see the same pay advantage in moving to a larger firm as experienced by management.

There was no difference in median compensation when comparing large staffing firms to small ones for branch managers and sales account executives.

By Skill Segment

For all sizes of companies, firms that provide professional skills as well as direct hire firms tended to have higher compensation for the most part. One exception: Office/clerical median compensation was $55,000 compared to $50,000 for healthcare.

Clinical scientific had the highest median compensation among all staffing segments at $95,000 for all job titles. Industrial/logistics had the lowest at $45,000.

This is the first time such compensation data has been collected by Staffing Industry Analysts.

Corporate members of Staffing Industry Analysts can access an online tool to obtain salary data by geography as well as job title, company size and skill segment served at

Median Compensation by Job Title and Company Size

JOB TITLE Small (50 or fewer employees) Medium (51-200 employees) Large (201 or more employees)
CEO/Chairman/President/Chief Operating Officer $200,000 $225,000 $300,000
Vice President/Senior Vice President/Executive Vice President, Sales $160,000 $160,000 $200,000
CFO/Vice President, Finance $105,000 $100,000 $165,000
Vice President/Senior Vice President/Executive Vice President, Marketing $80,000 $90,000 $125,000
Area/Region/Division Head $100,000 $100,000 $105,000
Branch Manager $65,000 $80,000 $65,000
Sales Account Executive/Account Manager/Business Development $65,000 $70,000 $65,000
Temporary & Contract Staffing Recruiter $50,000 $50,000 $45,000
Permanent Placement/Search Recruiter $50,000 $55,000 $45,000
Office Supervisor/Service Representative $40,000 $45,000 $40,000


Craig Johnson is managing editor of SI Review. He can be reached at For more information on the place and search report, contact


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