Building on the success of last year’s first-ever professional salary and benefit survey for the fresh produce industry, Western Growers announced the completion of a new and expanded survey. The Western Growers 2011 Professional Salary & Benefit Survey will supply executives and human resource professionals with compensation information needed to make informed decisions about hiring and retaining executive-level, sales, office, logistics, field supervision and food safety employees within their organizations. All of the more than 50 participating companies have operations within California and/or Arizona.

“For too long companies have been operating in a vacuum in regards to compensation packages for mid and upper level managers and officers and sales and marketing positions,” said Kevin Andrew chief operating officer with M. Caratan Inc., Columbine Vineyards, and former WG chairman. “There have been ample surveys for hourly positions, but there’s a real lack of credible, comparable information for levels above that.”

The survey examined 30 positions within to the fresh produce industry, including some that currently are not included in major national surveys from the U.S. Department of Labor. Professionals within the industry use this kind of data to determine benchmark pay and benefits levels, but have struggled in recent years to find reliable data for their very specific niche within agriculture.
“We had a large survey group,” said Karen Timmins, WG’s vice president of human resources. “Because so many companies participated, results and information will be reliable, consistent and dependable. This mission-critical information can be used to form a successful pay strategy which attracts and retains people with the skills most indispensable to the profitability of an organization.”

To maintain the privacy and confidentiality of this highly-sensitive material and the identities of the participating organizations, WG secured an independent, certified compensation specialist—hired expressly to compile the information. WG will provide aggregated compensation information to member companies beginning May 16, 2011 at a cost of $495. If you are not a member of WG and are interested in the survey results, consider joining. Five levels of membership are offered beginning at an annual fee of $400. Details are available on the WG’s website http://www.wga.com/.

“The survey will give a “much broader and accurate sampling, allowing our members to be better informed on total compensation packages for all levels of employees,” Andrew said.