Water Industry compensation survey shows higher-than-expected 2018 salary increases
October 9, 2018

Average salary increases for water and wastewater utilities were higher than projected this year, according to the 2018 Water and Wastewater Utility Compensation Survey recently released by the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

The 2018 survey results are based on input from 708 organizations through March 1 of this year, representing more than 25,600 employees. Detailed survey results are available for purchase in separate versions for large, medium-sized and small utilities on AWWA’s website

How did actual 2018 average salary increases compare to 2017 projected increases?
Staff - 3.02% actual increase compared to 3.0% projection
Supervisors - 3.00% actual increase compared to 2.4% projection
Managers - 3.03% actual increase compared to 2.4% projection
Executives - 3.09 % actual increase compared to 2.3% projection

What were the actual 2018 average salary increases by size of utility?
5.1% for large utilities (population served above 100,000) compared to -0.5% in 2017
2.8% for medium utilities (population served 10,000-99,999) compared to 4.2%
1.7% for small utilities (population served less than 10,000) compared to -0.7%

What other salary adjustments did the 2018 survey indicate regarding utility size?
Large utilities on average paid 17% more for salaries across all job categories
Compared to medium utilities, large utilities paid at least 40% more for positions such as customer service manager, procurement manager and top operations & maintenance executive
What 2018 merit increases did survey respondents plan for?
50.5% of survey participants plan to implement similar merit increases as last year
12.4% plan higher merit increases
2.8% plan reduced merit increases
9.9% do not anticipate merit increases/salary freezes
1.8% plan to defer/postpone merit increases

What information about cost-control initiatives was reported in the 2018 survey?
Of the 640 participants responded to this question, 44.6% indicated they have, are planning or are considering changes to their healthcare plans such as co-payments, deductibles, eligibility, and employee premium cost-sharing

What staffing-level changes were reported?
Of the 513 organizations responding to this question, 49.7% increased staffing levels
26.5% hired additional contract/seasonal or temporary staff
Less than 10% reduced their work force
16.8% outsourced work previously done internally

How does the average 2018 salary increase for water utilities compare to other industries?
2018 salary increases for water utilities averaged 2.9% compared to 3% for all industries