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Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine
MDDI Article Index

An MD&DI August 1997 Column

The results of MD&DI's ninth annual salary survey reveal that the earnings of device professionals responding to the survey continue to grow at a healthy rate.

Daphne Allen

Not only are the wallets of medical device professionals bulging more than they did last year, but their salaries are growing at a higher rate than those of U.S. employees in general. According to the results of MD&DI's ninth annual salary survey, employees of medical device and in vitro diagnostic manufacturing companies received an average annual raise of 6.6%, with at least half the survey respondents receiving an increase of 5% or more. According to the 1997 survey, the average raise was higher than last year's, which was reported at an average 6.2% increase. According to figures from the U.S. Labor Department, the average hourly earnings of U.S. workers in all industries are only 3.8% higher than a year ago.

This year, to help readers locate statistics relevant to their positions, we have dedicated a full page to each of seven job functions: general and corporate management, marketing, product design engineering, production and manufacturing (including packaging and sterility assurance), quality assurance and quality control, regulatory and legal affairs, and research and development.

Average salaries for medical device professionals responding to our annual survey rose from last year's nearly $64,000 to almost $70,000 this year. This increase is even more dramatic when you consider what survey respondents earned in 1994--salaries averaged just under $60,000. Respondents have seen their salaries increase by almost $10,000 in just four years.

More than half of industry personnel appear to be pleased with their current positions, perhaps as a result of the steady salary increases. Sixty-two percent of all respondents report they are not considering new jobs. Those happiest with their positions are in general and corporate management, which is no surprise when their salaries and compensation are considered.

Survey results:

Similar to past surveys is the scarcity of women and minorities in the sampling. Nearly 90% of the respondents are white and more than 75% are male. But because the 600 respondents represent only a fraction of the entire industry, it would be wrong to assume that minority and women professionals are having difficulty obtaining positions in the medical device industry. Still, it is interesting to note that only 14% of the female respondents and only 5% of the minority respondents hold general and corporate management positions. The sparse number of women and minorities in these upper-level positions may be attributed to reasons other than discrimination, however. For instance, only 11% of the minority respondents have received postgraduate degrees.

This year's salary approximation worksheet differs only in parts from those of previous years. While experience, job function, and job responsibility continue to influence salary using this model, the importance of gender and region has varied from year to year. For instance, if an employee's primary job function involved production and manufacturing, using the worksheets from 1995 or 1996, he or she would need to subtract $6926 or $5828, respectively, from the base salary. This year production and manufacturing personnel still need to deduct from the base salary, but only by $2570.

Gender is not included in the worksheet this year, suggesting that it does not weigh as heavily as other factors. There is still a disparity between the average salaries of men and women--$72,700 for men, $55,400 for women--but factors such as education, experience, and primary job function may determine salary more than gender does.

Similar to survey results of 1994 and 1995, region plays a key role in predicting salary. This year, users of the survey worksheet must deduct a hefty $5930 if they work in the southern United States; their average salary is $7200 less than the industry average.


The data for this year's survey were obtained from a mail survey designed jointly by MD&DI and Readex Research, Inc. (St. Paul, MN), and conducted by Readex in March and April. Surveys were mailed to 1200 medical device professionals, 656 of whom provided usable responses.

The survey results are based on the responses of 600 individuals who identified themselves as full-time professionals working for companies that manufacture medical devices or in vitro diagnostics. These individuals were segmented according to the following seven job functions: general and corporate management, marketing, product design engineering, production and manufacturing (including packaging and sterility assurance), quality assurance and quality control, regulatory and legal affairs, and research and development.

Another key segmentation that recurs throughout the accompanying article categorizes individuals according to their level of responsibility: CEOs and presidents, vice presidents and directors, department heads and supervisors, and engineers and scientists.

The margin of error for percentages based on the 600 responses is ±4.0% at the 95% confidence level.


The Ninth Annual MD&DI Salary Survey is available as a bound reprint. Each 200-page volume includes a copy of this article and tabular breakdowns for the device industry as a whole, plus previously unpublished tabular breakdowns for each job function covered by the survey.

Copyright ©1997 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry
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