In July 1947, MSEC conducted its first survey, collecting wage data for 30 positions from Senior Accountant and Draftsman to Stenographer and Mimeograph Operator. Following is a chart comparing wages from 1947 to 2017 for similar jobs. Where will wages be in another 70 years?
Job Title Hourly Rate 1947 Hourly Rate 2017 % Difference
Accountant, Junior $1.21 $24.82 1951 %
Accountant, Senior $1.73 $35.38 1945 %
Bookkeeper $0.97 $23.69 2342 %
File Clerk $0.71 $14.66 1965 %
Payroll Clerk $0.93 $21.13 2172 %
Administrative Assistant $1.06 $20.20 1806 %
Executive Assistant $1.21 $29.09 2304 %
Telephone Operator $0.82 $14.55 1674 %
Draftsman $1.36 $25.69 1789 %
Of the 34 employees reported in the Senior Accountant position in 1947, 32 were male. I know what you’re going to ask next: What were the female wages compared to the males? The lowest wage reported was $1.15 (female) and 17 percent below the next lowest rate.
We also asked some questions on Working Conditions and Practices. It’s good to know that even in 1947, 100 percent of participating employers were providing a paid vacation. The difference from then and now is how much time off is given. In 1947, 48 percent of employers gave one week after one year, 47 percent gave two weeks after one year, and 24 percent gave two weeks after five years. In the 2016 Paid Time Off Plans Survey, the majority of employers give one week after six months of service and two weeks after one year of service. We didn’t even ask about giving three weeks of vacation in 1947. Now, the majority of employers give three weeks after five years.
MSEC has provided answers to many questions employers have, not just salary data, insured benefits, or paid time off. We collect and publish metric data (e.g., turnover rates, compensation expense as a percent of total payroll, cost of benefits) and HR practices (e.g., dress code, child care, wellness programs, telecommuting, etc.). We sure weren’t asking about telecommuting in 1947!