PBJ – Top local execs see 20% pay increase in 2015

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In the Philadelphia market, operations and general management executives received the largest increases, averaging almost 24 percent above their previous pay packages.

By: Jeff Blumenthal

For a sixth consecutive year, senior executives who changed jobs in 2015 received double-digit compensation increases, Radnor-based executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group said.

Nationally, senior executives averaged a salary increase of 18.4 percent when they switched jobs — higher than increases reported in the previous five years, but not quite the 25 percent increases that were common in 2006 and 2007, right before the recession. For Philadelphia-area companies, the increase averaged 20.14 percent.

A five-year scan shows Philadelphia-area executives have seen a resurgence in pay increases over the past two years.

SSG, which places executives in senior-level roles at corporations and nonprofits, analyzed compensation data from its senior executive placements in 2015. Those surveyed hold vice president or C-level positions that pay between $250,000 and $450,000 in a variety of industries for companies ranging from small private entities to multinational publicly traded corporations.

The 18 percent increases nationally applied to every industry and every functional area, although SSG noted human resources leaders received slightly higher increases when they changed jobs.

In the Philadelphia market, operations and general management executives received the largest increases, averaging almost 24 percent above their previous pay packages.

SSG Principal John Touey said he cannot account for why executive pay declined between 2011 and 2013 and then shot up again over the past two years, as the recovery from the recession has been steady.

Those pay increases must seem out of whack in an age when, according to surveys conducted by Mercer and Towers Watson, pay raises for the average worker in 2015 was just 3 percent. Touey said this disparity has always been the case.

“Organizations feel people at this level can make more of an impact on the success of their businesses with their experience and capabilities,” Touey said. “It’s sort of like a sports franchise giving a big contract to a star player. That player might perform like Tim Duncan or like Andrew Bynam. But from the outside, when you see a struggling organization giving a compensation increase like that to an executive, you can see why people might feel there is a disconnect.”

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