Statistics Performance measurement
Salary Survey 2014

Salary Survey 2014

Salary Survey 2014

You’re a safety professional.

Your employer did pretty well this year. You feel like you were part of the reason for that success. But when it comes to your position, how exactly should your effectiveness be measured? Would it be fair to base your raise or bonus on your employer’s safety performance?

Flip a coin. That’s how close the responses were in Safety+Health’s 2014 Salary Survey.

Out of the more than 1,700 respondents to the safety performance question, a total of 876 answered yes, it is fair to base pay raises and bonuses on safety performance, while 850 respondents said it is not fair.

Both sides provided compelling arguments for their votes and hinted at gray areas that complicated a black-and-white, yes-or-no question. For instance, many safety professionals who responded “no” echoed a concern expressed by OSHA and other stakeholders that tying incentives to safety performance could encourage underreporting of workplace injuries and illnesses. (Check out the responses.)

The survey results also include comprehensive data listing how much safety professionals earn, as well as some of the most lucrative industries and geographic regions. Age and experience tend to play a role in salaries, as do job title and education level.


As was the case one year ago, the top three industries represented in the survey were manufacturing (35.0 percent), construction (15.1 percent), and public administration and government (12.1 percent). The next most popular group of industries was services and education (10.3 percent); utilities (8.0 percent); and mining, oil and gas (7.6 percent).

In each of the top six industries, the most common pay range was between $100,000 and $125,999. But some industries featured a greater proportion of six-figure earners than others. For example, 50.8 percent of respondents in mining, oil and gas said they earn at least $100,000. That is twice as much as in public administration/government, where 25.4 percent of respondents said they earn at least $100,000. Other industries fell somewhere in between when it came to earning at least $100,000: construction (33.5 percent), utilities (32.1 percent), manufacturing (32.0 percent), and services and education (29.9 percent).


Knowledge is (earning) power. On average, the survey indicated a strong correlation between education level and salary range. Take a look at the most common salary ranges based on respondents’ highest level of education:

High school graduate: $50,000-$59,999
Some college: $70,000-$79,999
Four-year degree: $70,000-$79,999
Advanced degree: $100,000-$125,999

The percentage of safety professionals who earn at least $100,000 showed a similar trend:

High school graduate: 14.9 percent
Some college: 19.2 percent
Four-year degree: 30.6 percent
Advanced degree: 53.2 percent

Meanwhile, those with a higher education level were more likely to receive raises. Eighty-six percent of respondents with advanced degrees said they received a raise – or expected to receive a raise – this year, compared with 81.4 percent who have four-year degrees, 77.2 percent who have some college education and 71.3 percent who are high school graduates.


The response to whether it is fair for a safety professional’s raise or bonus to be based on the employer’s safety performance was almost perfectly divided, but a closer examination revealed some trends. Among respondents whose salary or compensation was based in part on their employer’s safety performance, 72.2 percent believe it is fair and 27.8 percent said it is not fair. Among those whose salary or compensation was not based on their employer’s safety performance, 36.8 percent considered it fair to adopt such a policy.

When it came to compensation and geography, the Pacific and Mountain region proved to be the most lucrative, with 36.6 percent of safety professionals earning $100,000 or more. That was followed by Central (34.2 percent), New England (32.0 percent), South Atlantic (31.8 percent), Mid-Atlantic (31.3 percent), Great Lakes (27.0 percent) and East South Central (26.0 percent).

Salary Survey infographic Infographic:
The survey results
summarized in one image
Next: About the respondents

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)