By Matthew Power. A Michigan-based research firm, Personnel Administration Services (PAS), has released a new survey of what construction employers pay their staff-level employees. Although the survey did not specifically assess residential builders, it included companies in the "commercial and building" industry, where one would expect considerable overlap with home builders. Researchers looked at salary reports for five key staff positions and concluded that, across the industry, employers can expect to pay their key staff people 5.1 percent more than they did in 2000. They note, however, that final figures have typically ended up being about a half point lower than mid-year projections.

PAS president Jeff Robinson adds that larger employers will typically pay higher salaries and offer bigger raises. He expects the rate of salary growth to continue, "at least through the end of the year," despite the slowing economy.

As an interesting side note, construction executive salaries have not ballooned exponentially as is typical of other industries such as entertainment or manufacturing. The latest salary figures from, put the median total compensation for a construction company president at $223,191, with vice presidents making between $86,000 and $128,000. Internal board members make about $15,000, and external board members collect about $7,000. Note that these figures may be somewhat high for the residential sector, as they cover the whole industry.

Source: The Bureau of National Affairs

How Much Do They Make?

Commercial and Building Sector 1999 2001
Project Manager $69,000 $73,000
Project Superintendent $59,000 $64,000
Senior Estimator $60,000 $68,000
Office Manager $42,000 $45,000
Purchasing Agent $47,000 $49,000

Note: No information available for 2000. Source: PAS Survey

Highs and lows: Since 1999, salaries for senior estimators rose by 13 percent, while office managers gained just 7 percent.