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Compensation Increases for Senior Executives

Cash compensation increased by more than 14 percent

RADNOR, PA – Salveson Stetson Group, a retained executive search firm based in Radnor, PA, released its 2019 Compensation survey findings, stating for the tenth consecutive year, senior executives who changed jobs received double-digit compensation increases. Executives placed by Salveson Stetson Group during the 2019 calendar year averaged an increase in cash compensation of more than 14 percent over their previous roles.

Salveson Stetson Group, which places executives in senior-level roles at corporations and nonprofits, analyzed compensation data from a representative sample of the firm’s senior executive placements in 2019. It found that the average compensation increase for a senior-level candidate accepting a new job last year was up slightly from the prior year – 14.64 percent in 2019 compared to 11.42 percent in 2018. Compensation packages refer to base salary and bonus.

“Continued upward pressure on executive compensation is to be expected given the tightness of the labor market,” said Sally Stetson, Principal and leader of Salveson Stetson Group’s Human Resources practice.

With the national unemployment rate at 3.3 percent as of November 2019, competition for talent at all levels is fierce, but especially for an organization’s top leaders.  As such, companies must be prepared to pay market rates when going to the outside for talent and also create an employee-centric work environment that retains the current workforce, reducing the temptations that high pay elsewhere can create.

“If the data shows us anything it’s that someone is always willing to pay more for talent than you are.  If you are competing for people on compensation alone, you are most likely in a losing position.” said John Touey, Salveson Stetson Group’s Financial Officer practice leader.

In addition to competitive pay practices, offering strong career development opportunities, flexible work arrangements, and progressive benefits packages may lessen your company’s need to be in the top quartile or higher in base pay and bonus.

A further look at the data shows that pay increases have slowed somewhat in the last three years, when previously an executive might expect a pay increase of more than 20 percent when changing companies.  However, overall demographic trends lean heavily on the side of individual professionals versus corporations as baby boomers begin to retire en masse, leaving a general talent shortage across all industries and disciplines.

“The winning strategy in the continuing war for talent – pay your people well but treat them better.” said Stetson.

About Salveson Stetson Group

Salveson Stetson Group ( is a multi-specialty retained executive search firm based in suburban Philadelphia. As a part of the MPI family of companies, SSG has access to talent, resources and expertise on a national level through its sister companies – Furst Group and NuBrick Partners. The firm places executives in $200,000+ positions at organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to nonprofit entities, specializing in practice areas such as Human Resources, Finance, Life Sciences and Wholesale Distribution. Salveson Stetson Group is a member of IIC Partners, one of the top ten retained executive search groups in the world with 52 offices in 34 countries.

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