Quality management and process improvement don’t just help organizations achieve better results. They also help those who specialize in those areas achieve more lucrative careers.
That’s the finding of the latest American Society for Quality (ASQ) Quality Progress salary survey.
For the third year in a row, salaries for quality professionals – such as those who specialize in Six Sigma and process improvement – increased. For 2017, salaries went up 1.5% over 2016. The average salary now has reached $93,036.
That’s in the United States. In Canada, average salaries also increased, rising to $87,569 (in Canadian dollars).
Salaries for quality professionals have increased every year since 2005 with just two exceptions, in 2012 and 2014.
ASQ chair Eric Hayler told Quality magazine: “With the economy seemingly recovered from the Great Recession, it’s nice to see a trend of increasing average salaries for quality professionals. And as quality professionals continue to impact their organization’s bottom lines, companies will continue to recognize and reward them accordingly.”
ASQ creates the Quality Progress Salary Survey by gathering information from more than 5,800 professionals who work across many different industries. While full-time employees made up more than 95% of those surveyed, they also surveyed self-employed consultants, part-time employees, and unemployed, retired or laid off workers.
The survey found three titles that commanded the highest salaries:
- Vice president or executive ($170,131)
- Master Black Belt ($148,198)
- Director ($132,780)
Certifications and education were drivers for many of the higher quality professional salaries. Experience also plays a role. In the U.S., those with less than one year of experience earned $63,752, while those with more than 20 years’ experience earned $109,264. The numbers in Canada echoed that, with experienced workers making $106,370 and those with less than one year of experience making $52,633.
Clearly, there is an advantage in training for quality improvement positions early on and then sticking to that path.
Benefits of Six Sigma
The survey also found a direct correlation between attaining Six Sigma certification and increased salary.
Master Black Belts not only rank among the top three highest paid quality professionals, they also earn a staggering $57,000 more than those without Master Black Belt certification, according to ASQ,
However, this benefit extends to all levels of Six Sigma training, experience, education and certification. The survey reported the following numbers.
- In the U.S., those with at least one level of Six Sigma training made an average of $17,762 more than those who had not received Six Sigma training
- In Canada, the average salary for those with Six Sigma training was $5,861 more than those without it
- Also in Canada, Master Black Belts made an average of $44,636 more than those without a Master Black Belt
The survey offers more proof of the benefits of Six Sigma and process improvement. They benefit an individual as much as they do an organization.