In late 2001, the Medical Library Association (MLA) conducted its seventh triennial salary survey to determine economic trends in health sciences librarianship. This information benefits our membership in that it:
The data collected from the survey was self-reported by participants and analyzed by Hay Group, a human resource consulting firm. For the first time, the survey was entirely Web-based.
If you have questions about the results, please contact Kate Corcoran, email@example.com, 312.419.9094 x12 at MLA headquarters.
In 1983, the Status and Economic Interests of Health Sciences library Personnel Committee (SEIC - disbanded in June 1998) conducted the Association's first salary survey.
The survey was repeated every three years (in 1986, 1989, 1992, 1995 and 1998) to track economic trends in the field. Based on these survey results and members' suggestions, the 2001 survey instrument was developed to update national and regional trends in compensation paid to the profession. The 2001 survey also incorporates questions designed to determine the prevalence of IT-related functions among medical library staff and the associated salary impact. The 2001 survey also included several questions that are intended to measure the effectiveness of compensation programs.
Many demographic characteristics of respondents remained similar in the 2001 survey as compared to previous years' surveys.
The number of professionals holding a Master's degree in Library and/or Information Sciences increased slightly from 88% in 1998 to 90% in 2001. There is a distinction in degree status between members and non-members; approximately 97% of MLA members in the survey have a master's in library or information science versus 86% of non-members. Besides the Master's degree (90% of respondents), the next most prevalent degree is the Bachelor of Liberal Arts (45% of respondents). No other degree types are as prevalent. The uniformity of education may indicate that it has not been common up to this point to enter the field without these degrees.
Educational organizations were the most prevalent type of institution in the survey, representing 57% of respondents. The participation was dominated by Academic Medical Center and Teaching Hospitals.
Regarding gender, the significant majority of respondents were female (83%). The pay gap between women and men did close somewhat since 1998. In 1998, women earned 84% of what men earned. In 2001, this number had climbed to 91%.
A significant majority of respondents were white (89%). This does reflect a modest increase in diversity, as 93% of 1998 respondents were white.
Eighty-six percent of respondents worked full-time.
In the 2001 survey, survey respondents were heavily involved in management; 76% of respondents either managed others or were the sole library specialist.
A trend identified in 1998 and affirmed in 2001 is the aging of the profession. Graph 3 clearly shows that the majority of the respondents were in their forties and are now moving into their fifties.
Compensation increases have outpaced the consumer price index. This is a change from the 1998 survey, which showed that wage rates barely kept pace with inflation. The cumulative inflation rate from January 1, 1999 to July 1, 2001 (the effective date of this survey) was 7.9% (or an average of 2.3% per year). By applying the inflation rate to the actual salary information reported in 1998, it can be established that through 2001, actual wage rates outpaced inflation by 6.1%. This likely attributable to the elevated demand for labor between 1999 and early 2001.
Actual 1998 Reported Salary
Projected 2001 Salary Based on Inflation Rate
|Actual 2001 Reported Salary|
Note: Inflation rate is based on Consumer Price index for Urban Consumers and is the indicator that has been used in past surveys.
Two thirds of respondents work in non-academic environments. Average base salaries for non-academic environments were moderately lower than their academic medical center counterparts.
There is a close correlation between the experience a respondent has and base salary. This is likely because the size of a person's job increases as experience increases. Graph 5 demonstrates this increase.
The table of contents for the Hay Group/MLA 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey is noted below.
General Information, 3
Executive Summary, 4
Table 1: Salary Trends and Inflation, 6
Data Analysis Methodology, 12
Analysis Conventions, 12
Table 2: Rates of Response, 13
Data Tables, 14
Table 3: Salary by MLA Membership Type, 14
Table 4: Salary by Academy Membership, 14
Table 5: Salary by Academy Level, 14
Table 6: Salary by Race/Ethnic Group, 14
Table 7: Salary by Library / Information Science Degree, 15
Table 8: Salary by Gender, 15
Table 9: Salary by Job Type: Academic Institution, 15
Table 10: Salary by Job Type: Hospital/Specialty Organization, 15
Table 11: Salary by Primary Area of Responsibility, 16
Table 11a: Salary for One Person Libraries*, 16
Table 12: Salary by Age Group, 16
Table 13: Salary by Experience, 17
Table 14: Salary by Country, 17
Table 15: Salary by US Census Region, 17
Table 16: Salary by US State, 18
Table 17: Salary by Canadian Province, 19
Table 18: Salary by Institution Type, 20
Table 19: Salary by Number of Beds, 20
Table 19a: Salary by Number of Beds - Hospitals Only*, 21
Table 20: Salary by Pay Satisfaction (relative to Position)*, 21
Table 21: Salary by Pay Satisfaction (relative to Cost of Living)*, 21
Table 22: Average Salary by Percent of Time devoted to IT*, 22
Table 23: Average Salary by Position and IT Prevalence*, 22
Table 24: Average Salary by Operating Budget*, 23
Table 25: Average Salary by Position Type and Operating Expenses, 23
Table 28: IT Administration Accountability*, 24
Table 29: Institutional Funding Sources*, 24
Table 30: Employment Status*, 25
Table 31: IT/IS Responsibility in Library Positions*, 25
Table 32: Prevalence of Management Duties*, 25
Table 32a: Salary by Number FTE's Supervised, 26
Table 33: Level of Education, 26
Table 34: Eligibility for Incentives, 26
Table 34a: Eligibility for Incentives for Selected Types of Institutions, 26
Table 35: Determination of Salary Increases*, 27
Table 36: Perception that Better Performers Receive Better Pay*, 27
Table 37: Reasons for Turnover*, 27
Table 38: Prevalence of Membership in Other Organizations, 28
Table 39: Distribution by City Size, 28
Table 40: Benefits Prevalence, 29
Appendix: US Census Regions, 30
The Hay Group/MLA 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey is out of print. For further information, please contact Kate Corcoran, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Last Updated: 2010 May 14