iStock_000015524969LargeBy Byron Dunn, President of Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium and Director of the Alabama Technology Network At the end of 2014, the Gulf States Shipbuilders Consortium (GSSC) surveyed member shipbuilding and repair yards, along with skilled craft providers, to capture industry wage and benefit information on hourly production workers. These workers are non-exempt personnel, such as welders, fitters, mechanics, painters and helpers, who perform daily routine and manual tasks. The data collected provides valuable input for wage and benefit comparisons and allows GSSC to develop local benchmarks specific to the Gulf Coast region, which helps members recruit and retain workers in an increasingly competitive market. GSSC launched its first wage and benefit survey in 2013. However, this year’s responses paint a different picture from last year. Here are some of the highlights: Pay Rates are Up Hourly wages for all entry-level positions have increased from last year. Some crafts increased as much as a 42 percent for entry-level pay, with the lowest entry-level wage increasing by 14 percent. Hourly rates for top-level craft professionals increased across the board; however, these increases were more modest, ranging from nearly 5 percent to almost 16 percent. Pipe is King The largest increases for hourly rates were in pipe welding and pipefitting, which validates recent reports that the demand for pipe crafts is currently the most critical in the industry, and employers are willing to pay a premium. Varying Benefits Insurance benefit plans vary greatly among responding companies, including the percent employers pay for employee health insurance premiums, which ranges from 0 percent to 70 percent. Likewise, annual out–of-pocket health care deductibles for family coverage range from $0 to $2,400. There are also a varying number of paid vacation days offered by responding companies. For example, after working 10 years at one company, workers will earn 11 days of paid annual leave, while working the same number of years at a different company will yield the same worker 20 days of paid vacation. Rising Referral and Recruiting Bonuses While most incentive bonuses are lower this year compared to last year, the exception is referral and recruiting bonuses. The average payment for each referral or recruit who is hired is up $5, and 90 percent of companies pay these bonuses, as compared to only 56 percent last year.   2014-Survey-Report-CoverFor more information about GSSC, visit To purchase a copy of the GSSC 2014 Annual Wage and Benefit Survey, visit  

Leave a comment


NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.