Manufacturers have edge on pay, retailers on job satisfaction in first-ever salary survey

HIGH POINT — Satisfaction with pay and benefits is relatively high among those in home furnishings retailing and manufacturing businesses, according to the first-ever salary survey conducted by Strategic Insights for Furniture Today and sister publication Home Accents Today.

Nearly 70% of retail and 62% of manufacturing personnel in ranging positions from sales associates to mid-level managers to CEOs said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with their current compensation package, while just 16% of those in retail positions and 22% of their manufacturing counterparts expressed dissatisfaction with their combined pay and benefits deal.

Longevity, often seen as another mark of satisfaction, is quite common in the home furnishings business, with 51% of those in retail and 42% from manufacturing being on the job with their current employer for 15 years or more.

Looking at salaries specifically, 23% of those in the retail sector and 20% from manufacturing received between $75,000 and $99,999 in yearly salary, the largest among all the salary breakouts.

Overall, manufacturing respondents reported higher compensation, with 63% making between $100,000 and $500,000 vs. 45% of those in the home furnishings retailing profession falling into that same salary range. Retail respondents (20%) also had a higher rate of reporting a salary of $50,000 to $74,999 those than in manufacturing, at just 8%.

Among the survey respondents, being a college graduate was standard for the majority in both career tracks. However, 22% of those in the retail trade vs. 7% in manufacturing said they had no post-high school education, and twice as many working in manufacturing had at least some additional education, including college coursework, trade or technical school or an associate’s degree. Manufacturing personnel also held the slight edge on master’s degrees: 12% vs. 9%.

More than 80% of those in retail and manufacturing jobs receive health insurance from their employer, followed by 60% or more receiving a year-end bonus and a 401(k) plan with some form of company contribution. Benefits that were less prevalent included an employer-funded 401(k), on-site gym or health club membership and paid sabbatical. Just 1% of retail respondents said they had access to an on-site daycare or received daycare reimbursement.

Despite reports of general satisfaction with their compensation, 44% in retailing and 34% in manufacturing noted their company doesn’t have a process for determining yearly pay increases. About one-fourth of each group receives a wage boost based on an annual review, followed by a pay bump based on achieving certain metrics (12% in retail and 13% in manufacturing). A cost-of-living increase was more common in manufacturing (10%) than in retailing (4%).

The impact of COVID-19 on the setup of retail workplaces was minimal, with 65% of respondents saying they had no change in work-related accommodations vs. 43% in on the manufacturing side. The biggest change cited for either group was moving to a hybrid work-from-home/in-office format, which was adopted by 21% of those in retailing and by 31% in manufacturing.


Strategic Insights’ exclusive home furnishings industry salary survey was fielded in February and March 2022 and is based on responses from more than 330 respondents among Furniture Today and Home Accents Today readers.

This included nearly 125 furniture, bedding and home accents manufacturers and more than 200 retailers representing full-line, specialty and manufacturer-branded furniture stores; discount and traditional department stores; and bedding and home accents stores.

Because of the sample size, the findings contained in this report are qualitative in nature and should be considered descriptive rather than explanatory.

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