US finance professionals saw pay rise 3.5% in 2016

US finance professionals typically saw a 3.5% gain in their base salaries in 2016, similar to the 3.6% increase reported in 2015, according to the latest annual Compensation Report issued by the Association for Financial Professionals (AFP).

Management tier professionals garnered the greatest percentage increase – of 4.0% -last year, followed by finance professionals in the staff tier with an average increase of 3.4%. Finance professionals in the executive tier lagged, with an average increase of 2.7% and have typically seen smaller rises than the other two categories over the past four years.

At 3.4% last year, average base salary increases for staff tier positions dipped from 3.9% in 2015, while management tier base salary increases edged up to 4.0% from 3.8% a year earlier.

Among the executive tier positions tracked by the AFP survey, that of controller/comptroller garnered the highest average base salary increase of 3.3%. Within the management tier, both the manager treasury/finance and financial reporting specialist positions gained an average salary increase of 5.1% – the largest gain for all 20 titles tracked. Accountant earned the highest increase within the staff tier, at 3.9%.

On the topic of career advancement, the AFP comments that a US finance professional’s potential for promotion is influenced by various factors. The most-often cited criterion for upward mobility is increased job responsibility, cited by 81% of survey respondents. Other factors impacting career advancement include contributing to profitability (67%); earning a professional certification such as AFP’s certified treasury professional (CTP) (24%) or financial planning and analysis (FP&A) (7%); earning a CPA licence (24%); and holding a MBA (16%).

The AFP conducted the survey earlier this year and received responses from over 3,100 professionals in the US on behalf of nearly 4,900 incumbents holding a total of 20 tracked job titles. It notes that when the survey was conducted, the US economy was stable and exhibiting several positive indicators.

“In February 2017, there were 7.5m unemployed persons and the unemployment rate was holding steady at 4.7%. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016. Average hourly earnings for American workers rose by 2.8% in 2016 from 2015, the largest increase in wages since 2009.

“But while the US economy currently remains stable, there was a growing sense of uncertainty as we approached 2017. In the wake of the 2016 US election, businesses anticipated economic growth, based in part on President Trump’s promises of deregulation and increased infrastructure spending. At the same time, policies that will greatly impact the US economy – such as immigration and tax reform and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act – have yet to take shape.”

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