The Professional Pricing Society (PPS) has been surveying the pricing community since 1998 as a service to PPS Members and the business community worldwide. We use responses to analyze the growth of pricing as a profession, and to continue to develop resources to help pricers in the areas they identify as opportunities for professional development.
In December 2020, we again surveyed pricers and those in similar fields, receiving 752 responses from the worldwide business community. Since PPS is the center of the pricing discipline worldwide, our survey results are widely used as a benchmark for a variety of pricing queries: salaries, reporting structures, career opportunities, pricing software usage, and key components of job satisfaction from both positive and negative standpoints. Our organization acquires survey data as a free service to our members and those interested in demographic trends for pricing and related functions. We hope that this information provides a good synopsis of where pricing stands as a career option and a good demonstration of pricing and its importance within the business world.
More than 70% of our survey respondents work for medium-large or very large corporations: 31.7% work for companies with annual revenues in excess of $5 billion (or equivalent) and 39.4% report that their company annual revenues are between $500 million and $5 billion. A significantly sized but smaller group, 28.9% are from companies with less than $500 million in annual revenue. When compared to our last survey in December 2019, the largest group (over $5 billion revenue) was slightly smaller this year, with a shift in favor of the middle group (between $500 million and $5 billion) and the smaller group (under $500 million).
The number of employees in the respondents’ companies devoted primarily to pricing in Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employees shows 41.1% responded that their companies have fewer than 10 pricing FTEs. This is slightly higher than our last survey. 35.5% report having between 10 and 49 pricers, which is almost exactly the same as last year. 10.6% state that they have between 50 and 99 pricing FTEs, very slightly less than our last survey, and 12.8% say that their companies have more than 100 employees dedicated to pricing. This is lower than our December 2019 survey. The most significant shift is a decrease from the largest groups in favor of smaller numbers – therefore a small migration in favor of fewer FTEs per company.
Respondents from American companies reported an average of 5.41 Pricing FTEs per billion dollars in annual revenue, while European companies reported an average of 4.32 Pricing FTEs per billion euros in revenue. Given the dollar-to-euro exchange rate during the survey period, American companies have about 4.7% more pricing FTEs than their European counterparts with similar revenue.
Survey respondents in the USA reported slight salary decreases at the Analyst and Vice President levels, with very similar salaries at the Manager and Director levels. American Pricing Analysts reported an average salary of $94,010 which is a decrease of 1.6% versus our last survey. In the USA, Managers reported an average salary of $118,533 which was almost exactly the same as last year’s survey (down 0.2%) and Directors earned $167,560 (down 0.5%). The news was rather similar for those higher up on the organizational chart as Vice Presidents surveyed claimed an average of $244,171 – a decrease of 1.3% versus December 2019 salaries. This year’s survey was the first in several years that did not show salary increases with at least some job titles. This is perhaps due to business downturns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the Euro Zone, Managers and Vice Presidents had significant salary increases, while Analysts and Directors reported slightly smaller average salaries. European Analysts earned an average €57,819, which was 0.9% less than our survey from a year ago. Managers reported €93,094 for a 2.5% increase. Toward the top of the organizational chart, Directors averaged € 130,512 (down 0.5%) and Vice Presidents earned € 179,192 (up 3.7%).
Across all categories and regardless of title, the average pricer now earns $140,239 (down 1.1% versus last year) in the USA and €96,882 (up 1.7%) in the Euro Zone.
Salary Trends by Industry
There is a very wide range of reported salaries by industry according to our survey respondents. Those in Consulting ($186,182), High-Tech ($168,660), Telecommunications ($157,450), and Industrial businesses ($156,167) reported the highest average salaries. Financial, Services, Healthcare, B2B, and Travel / Transportation businesses all reported average salaries between $130,000 and $150,000. The lowest reported average salaries were in Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation, and Distribution organizations.
Job Title Mix
Senior Management (Presidents, Vice Presidents, and General Managers) accounts for 14.5% of overall job titles. Managers are the largest individual group (40.8%), followed by Directors (28.9%) and Analysts (15.8%).
Reporting Structures and Experience in Pricing
More pricers report to Marketing (22.7%) than any other function, but this is closely followed by large groups that report to Finance (20.8%) and directly to Senior Management (19.8%). The fourth most likely reporting structure is through Sales (17.3%), while 8.0% report to a Business Unit and 7.3% report to a Product Group. About 4.1% reported a combination of the above, or a different reporting structure.
Our respondents reported a range of experience within pricing. 3.3% claimed that they had two years or less experience and 11.8% stated three to five years of experience. The largest groups were six to ten years at 28.9% and 11-20 years at 42.8%. 13.2% reported more than 20 years of experience in pricing.
Overall Job Satisfaction
This is the 11th survey in which we have asked respondents how satisfied they are in their jobs and asked for feedback about unmet wants and needs. On a scale of 1 (very dissatisfied) to 10 (very satisfied), pricing professionals rated their jobs 6.81, which was 0.10 higher than our last survey. There were differences in overall satisfaction based on job title, with position on the organizational chart somewhat correlated with reported ratings. Vice Presidents and Senior Management were the most satisfied with their jobs (7.35), slightly higher than Directors (7.33). Managers were the least satisfied and reported an average job satisfaction rating of 6.30. Analysts reported more job satisfaction than Managers (6.58).
PPS Pricing Power Index
Our December 2020 survey represented the second time that we asked respondents about their assessment of their company’s pricing power to determine the PPS Pricing Power Index. This year’s overall average was 6.45 on a scale of 1 (no pricing power whatsoever) to 10 (absolute and complete pricing power), which represented a small increase from last year’s overall average of 6.40.
One interesting finding from our survey was that, even though those higher up on the organizational chart reported higher job satisfaction, they reported slightly lower Pricing Power. Vice Presidents and Senior Managers rated their organization’s Pricing Power 6.23, lower than Directors (6.40), who were lower than Managers (6.43) and Analysts (6.65).
There was also significant deviation in the Index depending on Industry. Logistics (7.62), Telecommunications (7.17), CPG / Retail (7.14), and Financial (6.98) businesses reported higher than average Pricing Power, while Industrial (6.09), B2B (5.96), and Distribution (5.36) organizations reported lower than average Pricing Power. High-Tech, Oil & Energy, Services, Manufacturing, Healthcare /
Pharmaceuticals, Hospitality, Software, and Consulting were all in a middle range close to the overall average Pricing Power.
On average, respondents from the USA (6.46) and Euro Zone (6.45) reported almost the exact same average Pricing Power (6.45). Canadians (6.83) were higher than average, and those in the UK (6.25) were lower than the USA and the Euro Zone.
Other Elements Related to Job Satisfaction
We asked pricers to rate their feelings about certain elements within the profession. 84.9% reported satisfaction in knowing that pricing is strategically important for their companies (this is down from 87.3% in our last survey) and 69.7% find their careers challenging (up from 63.2%). 62.5% claimed that their jobs were intellectually stimulating (up from 61.5%), but more than half (55.2%) felt that they were underappreciated by their firms (up from 53.5%).
Availability of Training Opportunities only received an average score of 5.71 on a 10-point scale, which is slightly lower than out last survey (5.78). “Recognition and Acknowledgement Received from Employers” was rated 5.65, which was also slightly lower than last year (5.76).
The highest–rated elements of job satisfaction were “Communication within the Pricing Group” (7.79) and “Amount of Influence” (7.51). Communication with other Groups received 6.81, but Career Advancement Opportunities decreased versus our last survey (5.96 vs. 6.02 in 2019).
The most satisfying job aspect for pricers was Increasing Company Profitability (65.1% of survey respondents) and the least satisfying was dealing with Corporate Politics, mentioned on 61.8% of all responses, followed by Being Understaffed (46.1% of all responses).
More survey respondents say that their companies are using pricing-specific software, but Microsoft Excel is still the most commonly used tool for pricing. 35.6% said that they use Excel or Tableau primarily, while 27.3% said that they use an outside company’s pricing, pricing optimization, or Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) software. 21.3% use an internally developed, or in-house, pricing software and 8.0% say that they are in the process of changing software tools. 7.8% claim that they do not use pricing software and are not considering adopting software in the near future.
We also asked our members for qualitative answers on how to improve their pricing power and job satisfaction. The most common answers centered on:
- Increased and Better Staffing to Reduce Workloads (“increase hiring” or “more qualified analysts” for example)
- Updated or Better Pricing Tools and Systems (“pricing software” or “new technology” for example)
- More Training Opportunities and Initiatives, and
- More Executive Leadership and Support
Many respondents also reported that their company salesforce is heavily involved with pricing decision-making with high levels of authority for discounting.
We asked a question about gender on this year’s survey. Of those respondents who chose to answer, 26.8% were female, a slight decrease from 27.0% in our last survey, and 73.2% were male.
As the only professional association dedicated to supporting the development and expansion of the Pricing profession worldwide, we always encourage your feedback regarding your professional development needs, career satisfaction, obstacles you are facing and any other assistance we can provide to help you achieve your career and advancement goals. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, feedback, or any other inquiries.