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With merit raises remaining stable in recent years, ASE executive reminds companies to review compensation programs to gain an advantage in the quest to attract and retain talent

Media Contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466,;
Wendy LoCicero, American Society of Employers (ASE), 248.223.8006,

Livonia, Mich. —June 3, 2015— The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, released the organization’s 2015 Compensation Survey today – and the results are surprising, given the emphasis on the war for talent in Michigan.

The key number in the annual survey is a 3.0% merit raise, which is the same as 2014 and typical of the standard merit increase for several years prior, as well. Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE, says the 3.0% number and other 2015 survey findings may indicate the need for employers to think more broadly and proactively to properly lure and reward top talent.

“An average 3.0% merit raise appears to be on the low side given the increasing need to retain well- performing workers, especially when considering the corresponding findings that bonuses as a percentage of salary are up only slightly from last year,” Corrado said. “However, the survey findings should serve as a catalyst to companies to comprehensively examine their approach to compensation and determine if they are being creative and proactive. While fears of the financial fallout during Michigan’s deep recession remain, employers need to take an in-depth look not only at their wage and benefit levels, but their overall menu of reward practices to determine if they are remaining competitive.”

A total of 352 companies, 56% of them located in the metro Detroit region, with an average of 752 employees and a median of 141 employees, responded to the survey, which was distributed to more than 2,200 human resource professionals via an online survey in January 2015. Nearly two thirds (62.3%) of the respondents are classified as non-automotive suppliers.

2015 ASE compensation survey highlights:
• Merit budgets have not wavered in 2014 and 2015 from the standard 3.0% level that ASE has seen for several years.
• Among companies who reported data in both 2014 and 2015, actual salaries increased 2.6% year-over-year. Further analysis of the data shows that salary movement ranged from as low as 1.5% for Production and Maintenance classifications (i.e., hourly) up to 3.0% for Supervisory, Managerial and Professional (i.e., exempt) classifications.
• The amount of bonus as a percent of base salary has increased slightly, rising from 9.5% in 2014 to 10.35% in 2015. Variable pay as a percent of base pay remains stable at each level. Employees that are eligible for variable compensation could reasonably expect short-term incentives of approximately 6.1%, 7.8%, 12.2% and 30.6% for the following annual salary levels: $50,000 to $75,000; $75,000 to $100,000; $100,000 to $150,000; and more than $150,000 respectively.

2015 ASE compensation survey findings on specific position classifications:
• After several years of robust growth, the rate of wage increases among engineering classification has stabilized. Wage increases in this job family (2.9%) are now more in line with overall survey averages.
• Salaries for legal support positions (i.e., paralegal and legal secretary) increased by just 2% in 2015, a slight improvement from less than one percent for those same roles a year ago.
• Design/drafting positions are enjoying a 5.0% average wage increase, overcoming last year’s 0.0% average wage increase.
• Average wage increases for human resources positions have returned from a recent high of 4.5% last year to a more typical 3.1%.

To obtain a copy of the 2015 Compensation Survey, contact Kevin Marrs, Vice President at ASE, 248-223-8025 or

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at