Ladies' salaries are on par with the men

Jan. 17, 2005
Yes, the process industriers are as male-dominated as ever, but this year's Salary Survey provides evidence there are women making great careers for themselves out there.
By Steve Kuehn, Managing EditorAlLTHOUGH THE READERS of CONTROL magazine and are predominantly male, the women who responded to our Annual Salary Survey really shined with most matching or besting the most successful career paths of the men.Kudos go out to the women in processing because there's no doubt that they probably had to work just a little bit harder and a little bit smarter to get where they are today.Disversity is still not a stong suit of the profession in the U.S., but survey responses revealed the rainbow has many colors, even though some stripes are wider than others.Domestically, 85% said they were married and there were fewer divorced than single (0.5% vs. 10%). Considering the average age of survey respondents (over 40), those with a sense of humor might say that once you marry an engineer, you're stuck for life! Most also have kids. Fortunately, it looks like salaries are set to keep pace with college tuition hikes and the cost of Ipods. Perhaps some of our more prolific respondents will take solace in that.Forty-Three Women Responded, Here’s a Snapshot:

Annual Salary -- $81-90,000
Hours per Week -- 41-60
Vacation -- 3 Weeks
Bonus -- Yes
Degree -- Bachelor’s
Field of Study -- Chemistry
Years in Process Control -- 11-20
Industry -- Chemical/Food & Beverage
Job Description -- Corp. Management/Production-Plant Operations
Years at Present Employer -- 2-5
Age -- 36-45
Domestic Status -- Married with Children

Granted, 43 respondents checking “female” as their gender isn’t a huge amount and represents a little more than 5% of the total. Fourteen identified themselves and as individuals, their credentials and track records in the industry were extremely impressive. Most said they earned salaries higher than the average for the industry (about $80,000) and one said she made more than $100,000 with a big bonus.

Yes, the process industries are as male-dominated as ever, but the survey provides evidence there are women making great careers for themselves out there. Educationally, there were nearly as many responding with master’s degrees as bachelor’s and one said she holds a doctorate. Anecdotally, these women seemed to have more focused career paths—meaning a specific high-level degree, and then holding a job in a specific area of the industry such as quality control or R & D, involving that field of study (i.e., chemistry) and a job that requires it (i.e., petrochemical or food & beverage-oriented company).

Although the majority responded they had 10 or more years on the course, most said they had less than five years at their present job, indicating a recent change and perhaps more willingness to change jobs for better opportunity compared to their male counterparts.

View the complete 2005 Salary Survey: Par for the Course.

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