Findings from the Most Recent Medical Library Association Salary Survey

By Wallace, Marc; McMullen, Thomas D. et al. | Journal of the Medical Library Association, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Findings from the Most Recent Medical Library Association Salary Survey


Wallace, Marc, McMullen, Thomas D., Corcoran, Kate, Journal of the Medical Library Association


Objective: The objective is to provide information on basic issues in library management identified by the Medical Library Association's (MLA's) seventh triennial salary survey.

Methods: The survey was a Web-based questionnaire. A nonrandom sample of persons was obtained by posting messages to MLA's membership and to the MEDLIB-L email discussion list. Lmployed MLA members and nonmembers employed in medical library settings filled out a Web-based form designed using common gateway interface (CGI) programming.

Results: Six hundred forty-five usable responses were analyzed by the Hay Group and presented in the MLA publication, Hay Group/MLA 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey. Results from the 2001 survey in this article focus on pay and job satisfaction. Salary survey results since 1983 were analyzed to review trends in seniority, diversity, and pay equity.

Conclusions: Given the age progression of respondents from 1983 to 2001, it is clear that succession planning is a core issue for medical libraries. Although efforts to create more diversity in medical libraries in member organizations have started to yield results, pay for white respondents has increased at a higher rate than for other racial categories. The authors found that the pay-for-performance system in the organizations of approximately two-thirds of the respondents is suboptimized and that most of the reasons medical librarians cite for leaving their organization can be addressed and potentially changed by management. Results from the eighth salary survey, slated to be conducted in the fall of 2004, will further track these trends and issues.

INTRODUCTION

A key objective of the Medical Library Association (MLA) is to support the important work accomplished every year by medical librarians in North America and around the world. An important part of this objective is providing the membership with information about issues facing today's medical libraries. This article presents highlights from MLA's 2001 salary survey, identifying potential issues in library management as well as trends seen when comparing 2001 data to data from past surveys.

At the end of 2001, MLA conducted its seventh triennial salary survey. Usable responses were collected from 645 participants, and the data were analyzed by the Hay Group. Results of the survey were published as the Hay Group/ML A 2001 Compensation and Benefits Survey. Questions were added in the 2001 survey to better understand not only the demographics and market trends of the profession, but the reasons why these changes are occurring. The 2001 survey results featured responses to questions regarding pay and job satisfaction, as well as reasons for leaving positions.*

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The authors have found that medical libraries continue to be faced with issues commonly identified by library management. However, most libraries report some progress.

* One of the primary demographic issues facing medical libraries is the seniority of medical librarians. A clear trend shows that in the next ten to fifteen years, there will be a serious shortage of experienced professionals. It is critical for library management to focus now on recruiting entry-level librarians to develop in the coming years. This recruitment will require a clear understanding of the labor market and ways to make the profession attractive to potential recruits. Pay- and job-satisfaction information in this article become even more critical given the scope of this problem.

* Diversity remains an issue, with the large majority of incumbents being white. Recent results indicate a nascent trend toward greater diversity. Efforts to create more diversity are likely beginning to yield results.

* Pay for men and women continues to be unequal. This gap has been constant over the last twenty years. In addition, pay for white respondents has increased at a higher rate than for other racial categories. …

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