Freight Broker Pay Increased by 5% from 2016 to 2017…. Or Did it?

16 Jul Freight Broker Pay Increased by 5% from 2016 to 2017…. Or Did it?

After much anticipation, the 2017 edition of the MeasureUp Freight Broker survey is finally ready.  We had 118 companies provide data.  That is a RECORD.  We have never broken 100 participants before.

As expected there are some marked increases in compensation.  The economy has picked up, unemployment is at an all-time low, and all of this was happening over the calendar year 2017 (the year for which we gathered the data).  While we may not see the full impact of these gains until 2018, we can certainly see their beginnings in the 2017 data.

Here are some of the highlights:

Across the entire data population which was about 5,300 people in 2016 and 5,400 people in 2017, the overall average pay increased from $69,266 to $72,668.  That’s a 4.9% increase, which is pretty good considering we’ve been living in years of 2-3% increases.  However, remember from your statistics class – averages are funny things and not the preferred metric when looking at compensation surveys.  Averages can be skewed up by a few large outliers or skewed down by some abnormally small data points.  The first situation is DEFINITELY happening in this data set, so let’s dig a little bit deeper.

Again, I’m not looking at any one job (you’ll have to buy the survey for that 😊) but looking across the entire population of people, which ranges from CEOs to Admin Assistants, the MEDIAN pay (the total W2 pay salary + incentive) went from $52,463 in 2016 to $52,955 in 2017.  Hmm.  That’s a 0.9% increase.  Not nearly as impressive as 4.9%! So, what gives?  Well, it turns out pay has increased, but it has not increased at the same rate for everyone.  The top 10% of the population saw an 8.3% increase. The top 1% saw a 15.5% increase and the absolute top level of pay saw an 18.5% increase.

From the chart above, you can see that while the average showed above typical gains (typical being 2.5% to 3.5% based on the past few years), it isn’t until we get to the 80th percentile that we see gains > 3.5%.  This graph puts a slightly different spin on it by overlaying the population distribution graph (the gray line) against the graph of the raw pay amounts (actual pay figures have been hidden to protect the innocent).

We are just beginning to dig our way through the survey and we are seeing some very interesting trends in terms of usage of incentive compensation (teaser – companies are using it LESS than they did in the down years and seem to be favoring more fixed pay) and in terms of types of incentives in vogue (teaser – straight commissions are becoming less popular – FINALLY!!).  But…you’ll have to wait for the next installment for more details on those pieces.

Want to see the rest of the survey results? Get yours, here.


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The In's and Out's of Compensation for Brokers
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When: May 22 – 24 (2:00PM ET – 3:00PM ET each day)

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