Sneak Peak: InfoComm Comp & Benefits Survey

Don’t let the name fool you: InfoComm International’s biennial Compensation and Benefits Survey is about a lot more that compensation and benefits in the professional AV industry. It’s about AV jobs, revenue projections, demographics, education and training, and more. Which types of AV companies hire the most women? How much does the average professional in your position make? The Compensation and Benefits Survey can tell you.

If you know InfoComm’s regular Economic Snapshot Survey, which the association gives away free and is designed to offer the industry a quick look at its perceived business prospects, then you’ve got an idea of the depth and detail the Compensation and Benefits Survey goes to — except more so. It answers so many questions about the industry (chief among them, is your company’s compensation and benefits package competitive?), that it’s a must-read for anyone navigating the tides of a changing industry.

The 2012 Compensation and Benefits Survey, which will be available soon, logs in at 112 pages. It’s not free, but if you order by May 15, it’s a paltry $50. The detailed report is the product of 212 surveys spanning 3,860 AV professionals (because it’s about comp and benefits, bosses, executives and/or business owners are asked to talk about their employees). And for the very first time, the survey explores more topics than ever before, including women in AV and the impact of CTS certification on compensation.

I got an early draft. And with permission of InfoComm’s Member Services Department, which produces the survey, I’m able to share a few insights before the study’s actually released. Thanks to Senior Market Research Analyst Melissa Paluch and Senior Vice President of Member Services Duffy Wilbert, CTS®, for the sneak peak.

Insight #1: Business is rebounding.

We’ve started to hear more about this — both directly from people in pro AV and from the regular Economic Snapshots. The business environment is still challenging (which may be the new normal), but according to the 2012 Compensation and Benefits Survey, the majority of companies surveyed saw a revenue increase last year. And a larger share expects revenues to be up even more this year. Hurray!

Insight #2. Staffing’s on the rise.

We’re not talking robust hiring just yet, but 2011 looks like the proverbial corner the industry has just turned. Overall, hiring was up in 2011, though nearly a quarter of respondents still said they were cutting full-time positions last year. Looking ahead, though, most companies appear ready to hire. In fact, the survey states, “The typical company anticipates increasing their total staff count by 9.9%.”

[Editor’s note: If you’ve ever read my thoughts on InfoComm’s Economic Snapshot Surveys, you’ll know that in general, the pro AV industry tends to be optimistic. It’s one of the things that make the industry so great. Especially during the recession and the subsequent herky-jerky turnaround, AV professionals have tended to be a little more optimistic than actually results have borne out. But even that’s changing and AV companies’ ability to forecast is getting better.]

Insight #3. Regarding women in AV.

Based on the make-up of survey respondents, more than one in five AV businesses are owned by women or minorities. This is the first year that InfoComm’s researchers have explore the gender makeup of the AV industry, so we’re not in a position to say whether the hiring of women is up or down. Admittedly many companies employ few women, as a percentage of their overall workforce. But there are also plenty of companies where 30% or more of employees are women. Interestingly, variations in hiring depend on the size of company, as well as the primary business the company is in.

[Pop quiz: Which type of AV company is most likely to hire the greatest share of women?

A. Box sales
B. Rental and staging
C. Systems integration
D. Design consultation
E. All others

Order your copy of the 2012 Compensation and Benefits Survey to get the answer.]

Insight #4: Certification matters.

In another first, researchers explored whether CTS, CTS-D or CTS-I certification affects compensation. It’s a totally legit question, right? If you’ve demonstrated a level of aptitude in your field, whether it’s AV or car repair or electrical engineering, and that level of aptitude is recognized by a national standards body (ANSI), does it pay? The answer, in a nutshell, is a qualified “yes.” The majority of respondents surveyed say CTS holders get paid more than non-CTS holders with similar experience. Researchers even delve into how much more, plus whether companies pay a bonus to employees who earn their CTS. Some do; some don’t.

And these insights just scratch the surface of the 2012 Compensation and Benefits Survey. For instance, having pored over my copy, I know the average salary for a president/CEO. I know who’s getting raises, who’s not, and what their expertise is. The report breaks down compensation by a litany of positions, including, just for example, VP/managing director, sales manager, customer service rep, purchasing manager, and receptionist. Is your company in rental and staging? The report has details on junior and senior techs, rental sales reps, and more.

As you might guess, various forms of paid leave are the most prevalent employee benefit. Company cars? Not so much (though it’s one of the benefits that saw the biggest increase since last year). And more companies say they’re investing in some, but perhaps not all, of their employees’ continuing education — which is a terrific sign.

And that’s not the half of it (nor a quarter of it). I’m told the 2012 Compensation and Benefits Survey may be out well before InfoComm 2012 in Las Vegas. It’s the kind of report that arms you with business intelligence you can use at the largest industry confab of the year.

Give it a read, then please stop back here again and give us your insights.

About Brad Grimes

Brad Grimes is the Director of Communications for InfoComm International and the former editor of Pro AV magazine. He has been writing about technology for more than 25 years.

2 Responses to “Sneak Peak: InfoComm Comp & Benefits Survey”

  1. Really more of an advertisement than a sneak peak.

  2. Concerned Tech Reply May 2, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    As far as compensation goes, where do you believe the AV Industry to be as far as the prevailing wage rates given in certain areas. I find it at times confusing and perceptive to “grey” areas. Where an employer may not be given the proper rates based on the given tasks and the job.
    – Concerned Tech