Economic instability continued to challenge growers in 2010, although many were able to hold their own despite the odds.


American Nurseryman is pleased to provide you with the results of its Wage & Benefits Survey for Growers for 2010. Each year for the past several decades, we’ve surveyed the overall industry to glean up-to-date information on compensation. This year, we decided to narrow our focus and address the groups individually, allowing for a more targeted response – and a little less confusion. So growers, this one’s for you. As for the rest of our fine readership, we encourage you to pay close attention. In the green industry, as in life, we don’t operate in a vacuum.

The year 2010 brought mixed blessings. Green industry businesses across the board struggled to find some light at the end of the economic tunnel, and although we were encouraged by news reports that The Great Recession was officially over, real recovery remained a distant objective for many. Some businesses welcomed the news that the economy appeared to bottom out; to them, “success” meant staying afloat. For others, it meant growth. One of our survey respondents shared the sad news that the company laid off its entire staff, and the sole owner remains … the sole owner. Yet another brave soul was courageous enough to start a brand-new business. Not surprisingly, it’s a small one, but we offer kudos to the kind of business owner who looks beyond the immediate doldrums and sees better days ahead.

With a bit of a nod to stability, a majority of respondents told us that company wages remained the same as the previous year: 51.8 percent reported no change in wage rates; 19.6 percent reported a wage increase and 28.6 reported a decrease. Compared to last year’s survey, however, fewer companies were able to give raises (down from 27 percent). For those companies able to increase pay, the rate was slight: An overwhelming majority (90.9 percent) reported increased wages between 1 and 5 percent. If a grower was required to decrease employee pay, 46.7 percent implemented a slight decrease of between 1 and 5 percent. However, one-third of respondents who reported decreased wages lowered pay by 16 percent or more.

Check out our report and see how you compare to your colleagues across the country.