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Quality Professionals Salaries Continue to Keep Pace with Inflation, According to ASQ Salary Survey

Salary Calculator estimates earnings based on survey responses

MILWAUKEE--The results of Quality Progress magazine’s 25th annual Salary Survey show strong average salaries for quality professionals in 2011 and fewer lay-offs as companies continue to see the value of quality and its positive impact on an organization.

The survey results also show that experience and obtaining ASQ certifications can significantly boost earning power for both U.S. and Canadian respondents.

In 2011, the average salary for full-time quality professionals in the United States is $87,086, up nearly 2 percent from 2010, when the average salary was $85,383, according to the survey results. Quality professionals in the U.S. have seen increases every year since the start of the recession in early 2008 when the average salary was $81,480. Compared to five years ago in 2006, today’s average salary for full-time quality professionals is up nearly 12 percent from $77,049.

The survey results are featured in the December issue of Quality Progress magazine—the flagship publication of ASQ, the global leader in quality.

“It’s encouraging to see that companies realize the valuable contributions of quality professionals and reward them with increased salaries year-after-year,” said ASQ CEO Paul Borawski. “The survey results show that it’s clear that careers in quality continue to show promise despite the economic downturn.”

In Canada, however, the average salary of a full-time quality professional remained nearly flat, slipping less than 1 percent to $75,800 from $76,407 in 2010, according to the results. Five years ago, Canadian quality professionals’ average annual salary was $71,584.

This year, nearly 6,560 quality professionals in the United States and Canada completed ASQ’s Salary Survey. Quality professionals from all industries and market sectors completed the survey.

In conjunction with the Salary Survey, Quality Progress also launched its online salary calculator for ASQ members, which estimates quality professionals’ salaries based on job title, industry, experience, age, location and more. The estimated salaries are based on 2011 Salary Survey responses from those with similar demographics.

Certifications increase earnings

According to this year’s survey results, more than 57 percent of the respondents reported holding one or more ASQ certifications including nearly 25 percent who say they have earned two or more certifications. And while obtaining a certification provides new skills and proficiencies, they also can increase a quality professionals’ earning power.

For example:

  • Certified quality engineers in the United States on average earn $5,116 more than their non-certified counterparts. In Canada, the difference is $8,608.
  • Certified calibration technicians in the United States on average earn $6,968 more than non-certified technicians. The difference in Canada is $14,276.
  • Certified black belts in the United States earn $4,998 more than non-certified black belts. In Canada, certified black belts earn $8,000 more than their non-certified colleagues.

Overall, respondents in the U.S. who have earned one certification make an average of $1,150 more than those with no certifications, while respondents with two certifications earn more than $3,400 more than those with no certifications. Those with six or more certifications earn nearly $30,000 more than respondents with no certifications.

Fewer quality professionals unemployed, laid off

The survey, like those from past years, confirms that respondents experience is directly related to their salaries:

  • Quality professionals in the U.S. with more than 20 years of experience earn an average of $96,449. Their counterparts in Canada earn an average annual salary of $88,970.
  • U.S. Professionals with 10.1 to 20 years of experience averaged $89,818 annually, whereas Canadians with the same experience earn $86,039.
  • Those with 10 years or less of experience earned an average of $71,817, in the U.S. Canadians with 10 years or less experienced earned $65,820.

In addition to salary increases, survey results indicate fewer quality professionals are unemployed, retired, or laid off. In 2011, 2.7 percent of respondents claimed to be not working, whereas in 2010, 3.1 percent were unemployed, retired or laid off.

Furthermore, 48.8 percent of respondents said in 2011 their organizations deployed cost-reduction measures to offset the lagging economy. In 2010, 75.7 percent of respondents’ companies implemented cost-saving measures to offset the weak economy. These measures included salary freezes, furloughs, pay cuts, hiring freezes, layoffs, or eliminating bonuses.

For 25 years, Quality Progress has released its annual Salary Survey, an indicator of the health of the quality profession using survey results. The survey breaks down salary information, submitted by ASQ members, in 24 job categories such as job title, education, years of experience, and geographic location. This year’s Salary Survey is sponsored by MEIRxRS, a contract research, recruiting and staffing organization.

To view the entire Salary Survey results, visit

About ASQ

ASQ is a global community of people dedicated to quality who share the ideas and tools that make our world work better. With millions of individual and organizational members of the community in 150 countries, ASQ has the reputation and reach to bring together the diverse quality champions who are transforming the world’s corporations, organizations, and communities to meet tomorrow’s critical challenges. ASQ is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., with national service centers in China, India, and Mexico. Learn more about ASQ’s members, mission, technologies, and training at