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In the Washington area, a majority of organizations increased salary budgets by 0-5% over the past year. More than half of the respondents – 54.02% – report the slight increase. In general, salary budgets in DC increased more than those outside of the area; nationally, 10% fewer organizations reported the 0-5% increase, with 7% more organizations outside of DC-Maryland-Virginia reporting no change, according to the TRENDS 2011 Compensation Reports.
About 55% of survey participants provided information on the criteria considered by their organizations when awarding salary increases and the rate of increase awarded at each job level. By far, “merit/performance only” carried the most weight in the decision whether to increase salaries, while no organization reported “longevity only” as a consideration. It is interesting, however, that while “merit/performance” was the most considered factor, increases awarded on the basis of “merit/ performance only” were not the highest average increases.
When evaluated together, “merit/performance” and “cost of living” (the second-most considered criterion nationally) yielded an average increase of 7.19% in the Washington-area and 6.3% nationally. However, in the Washington area, “cost of living” and “longevity” together yielded the highest salary increase, with an average of 7.25% over the past year (the same pair only raised salaries 5.63% in the national survey). (See chart above.)
Although “cost of living” was only the third-highest factor considered (17.17% of respondents nationally said this was a factor in awarding increases), increases on the basis of “cost of living” were higher overall, which is reflected in the average salaries in the Washington-area (which Kiplinger ranks as having the sixth-highest cost of living and second-highest median household income in the nation). According to the TRENDS National Compensation Report, salaries in DC are higher on average than the rest of the nation for every position category evaluated. (See chart below.)
Even within the DC-area, there is a degree of variation in salaries between organizations based in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Salaries paid in the District are generally higher, but whether employees are paid more in Maryland or Virginia depends on job category. Maryland administrative directors are compensated higher, on average, than their Virginia counterparts, but in accounting/finance and executive management positions, for example, Virginians have the edge. (See chart below
The average for an association government affairs director in Virginia is even higher than even the average for the government affairs director in the District, but Virginia nondirector GR professionals are paid less than those in Maryland and DC. However, there are fewer GR positions in Maryland than in DC or Virginia, which affects the salary information available.