CUES Podcast
CUES Podcast
Aug 12, 2019
CUES Podcast 77: Using CUES Executive Compensation Survey Data to Create Great Pay Packages—an Interview with Michael Becher, CPA
Play • 32 min

Using data from the CUES Executive Compensation Survey is a great way to benchmark your credit union’s base salary and bonus packages—and make sure you’re paying within the strategy your organization has set forth, says Michael Becher, CPA. 

Some credit unions decide to pay at the market average, explains Becher, vice president of Industry Insights, Dublin, Ohio, which works with CUES to produce the survey. Other credit unions choose to be market leaders in compensation to help them attract and retain the best talent available.

“With the way the economy is now, with job surpluses and the like, having this information (market compensation data) is just vital in terms of putting together a compensation package that’s competitive in today’s environment,” Becher says in the show. 

Becher and Industry Insights started working with CUES on both the CUES Executive Compensation Survey and the CUES Employee Salary Survey in 2014, working to improve the surveys year over year to provide the best possible data to credit unions.

This year, the key trend in the CUES Executive Compensation Survey is that compensation grew, but at a somewhat lesser pace than in previous years.

“For the past few years, we’ve seen really, really strong growth in terms of compensation levels in the credit union industry,” Becher explains. “What we have seen this year is just a slight drawback.”

Whereas typical increases for the various positions included in the survey in previous years might have increased 6, 7 or 8%, he says, this year the increases might have been only 5, 6 or 7%. That’s “not necessarily a bad thing,” he notes, especially since credit union compensation is “still outpacing a lot of compensation increases in other industries.”

There’s not an exact reason for this trend, Becher adds, noting that it most likely has to do with the uncertainty in the economy. Economists keep saying “‘next year we’re going to see a dip,’ ‘next year we’re going to see a dip,’ ‘next year we’re going to see a dip,’ but that dip hasn’t happened yet.” 

“We’re in a weird spot right now because there are these indicators saying … things are going to go down, but then we have seen historic unemployment rates being lower than anything we’ve seen since 1969 … and job surpluses that reach new highs,” he continues. “There’s these other signs saying … there’s a lot of room to grow. So, there’s a lot of uncertainty … Are we going to go up? Are we going to go down? … People don’t want to get caught with not being prepared.”

In the episode Becher also weighs in on:

  • Base salary vs. bonus compensation and how uncertainty in the economy impacts the decision about which to increase in a given year and by how much
  • Notable data for CEOs and other executives (top mortgage and business lending executives) from this year’s survey
  • New data being collected on the survey about gender
  • Turnover trends and the importance of succession planning
  • How to effectively use compensation data
  • How to discern whether you have good data
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