Contractor Salary Increases Fall Below 4%

Electricians' salaries have gradually increased to an average of $43,160 per year due to the skilled labor shortage and demand for quality workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collected data from employers in every state and the District of Columbia for its 2001 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. The data presented in the Table applies to electricians who install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures. Due to the slowing economy, however, contractors' salary increases could fall to historically low levels in 2003, according to PAS, Inc., a Saline, Mich.-based compensation and consulting firm. PAS found that the average salary increase for all contractors surveyed will be 3.6%. Excluding the firms that don't plan to give raises, the average raise will be 3.71%. Due to rising health-care costs, a decreasing number of contractors are paying 100% of their staff's health-care premiums, and more employees are now expected to share the burden.

Electrical Executives Could Earn Lower Salaries, Higher Incentives in 2003

The specialty contracting industry has witnessed an economic slowdown that has driven companies into service, maintenance, and renovation work (see Table). New construction projects have been put on hold or cancelled altogether, and electrical contracting consolidators have collapsed due to financial problems. Several contractors were able to avoid staff cuts and sustain profitability by shifting into the service and renovation segments. Pittsburgh-based Specialty Consultants, Inc., surveyed electrical executives to uncover the effect of these factors on the high-level employees' compensation package. The company found that annual income was up in 2002, but restructured packages may lean toward long-term incentives and lower cash compensation in 2003. The senior sales and preconstruction professionals realized the greatest increase in compensation in 2002 due to a focus on commissions and bonuses based on productivity. The increase in the service and renovation segments also led to a rise in the demand for P&L service managers.