Wage compression

  1. I am curious about how big a problem wage compression is throuhout the country. By wage comprssion I mean the difference between the lowest pay for a staff RN and the highest pay for a staff RN in your institution. In many career feilds, both professional and non professional expirienced practictioners have salary ranges more than double or triple the wages over the structure, while I have not found this to be true with RNs.
    At myi nstitution we start newbies at $25/hour while the max is $30/hr after 13 years of expirience. Thats about a $10,000/yr difference for a FT RN. Not much of an incentive for retention. Not much of a reward for the length of a career.
    As I have said just curious as to what's happening around the country.
    I know cost of living varies greatly around the country (I'm in a high cost area) and am really interested in the spread from high to low.
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   -jt
    In our last contract negotiations, with the help of our union, we established a starting salary of $55,188 for a new grad ADN at my hospital. At the moment, each year of total RN experience adds about $1,000/yr up to 25 yrs. Staff RNs with more than 25 yrs experience in nursing receive the 25 yr salary and an additional $1,000 bonus. Salaries increase with each year of the contract, so whatever the 25 yr salary is for a given year, the salary of an ADN with more than that amount of experience will be $1,000 above it. We do not allow a merit raise system.

    Differentials of a $1,500 - $2,500/yr each are paid for BA/BS/BSN, MA/MS/MSN, Phd, specialty certification, etc. Eve/night shift differential is $5,000/yr. Charge RN differential is $3,000/yr. All expected to increase with the next contract.

    Using your example to compare, a new grad ADN at my hospital would be paid a starting salary of $55,188. An RN with 13 yrs experience (total nursing experience whether or not it was at my hospital), working the same shift as that new grad, & having the same ADN degree, would be paid a base salary of $67,538, not including differentials.

    Differentials would be added to that depending on additional degrees, certifications, shift, etc.

    If the RN with 13 yrs experience & ADN degree was the charge nurse, she would be paid $70,849/yr - not including other differentials.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 1, '02
  4. by   suzannasue
    oh my...wage compression??? I think my wages are in depression as well...hahaha...I am not EVEN making $1.00 per year of experince...of course, we nurses in this "right to work" state amd especially those of us in the more rural areas are kept on the low end of the pay scale...differential????? $2.00/hr. But God forbid you mention getting "organized"...funny that none of them were alive then but still have vivid memories of the carpetbaggers. AT my present placeof employment, I will have to be there a year before I get a "raise" of 0.03%...am moving on for a variety if reasons but primarily because I feel I am volunteering my time there...:roll :roll :roll
  5. by   Teshiee
    That is pitiful the only way I see myself getting a higher wage is changing my status to perdiem or working registry.
  6. by   fergus51
    Our difference is about 6 dollars an hour between the most experienced and the newbies. We max out after 9 years here. On the one hand, it sucks, but on the other hand we are doing the same job and years of experience does not necessarily equal good nurse. I wish there was more of a difference that took into account experience, shifts, education, performance reviews, extra responsibilities (like mentoring), etc. But that just isn't practical.

    jt- does this experience have to be at your hospital or can nurses with lots of experence move there and start higher up than new grads? Our area does start nurses with experience at a higher rate than new grads if they are from another region, but not as high as they would be if all their hours had been worked here.
  7. by   heartholder
    where I work there is LESS than a $2 difference between a newbie and a nurse with 5 years experience. yea, you top out at 5 years. I have 11 years experience and some a brand new nurse can make More than me by working nights. I left once for a year to do travel nursing. Came back due to family matters. It is sad that my hospital doesn't pay a lot for the experience. matter of fact, my hospital pays more for new grads than any hospital around.
    just my 2 cents.
  8. by   teeituptom
    howdy yall
    from deep in the heart of texas

    probably a sad but true fact with most hospitals, particulalry non union ones
  9. by   -jt
    <jt- does this experience have to be at your hospital or can nurses with lots of experence move there and start higher up than new grads?>


    all of the facilities where the nurses are represented by my union have to pay for RN experience. Some have negotiated to pay for TOTAL years of RN experience outside the facility & some have negotiated a limit, accepted by the nurses, on the number of years they will credit from outside experience. Where I work, the limit is 15 years outside experience. Right now, if you are a newly hired nurse at my hospital & never worked a day there before but have 15 yrs experience in nursing, your salary advances to the 15 yr level after your probationary period ends. That would be a base of about $15,000/yr more than a new grad ADN - not including differentials for shift, certifications, & degrees. We'd like to have the limit on the years removed or increased in the next contract - an incentive to attract experienced nurses back. Why should a nurse with 25 yrs in the profession come back to the bedside if shes only going to be paid for 15?
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 1, '02
  10. by   fergus51
    Jt- Frankly, I would wet my pants if I got paid with every year of experience!!! Right now we max out after just 9 years. It doesn't really reward experience, it just makes the newer earn much less than they should. Your system sounds pretty sweet to me! I would consider moving to NY if not for my dog!
  11. by   OC_An Khe
    -jt
    How does it work with for exmplean N with 20 years expirience but who hasn't work for say 5 years or more?
  12. by   -jt
    <I would consider moving to NY if not for my dog!>

    fergie its not NY - its the nurses who demanded it at the table.
    NY employers are the same as employers everywhere else - except maybe that they know they have to negotiate with nurses instead of just telling us what is to be. Still they dont make it easy.
    Anyway, pay for experience is in other states too - but only where the nurses fought for it.

    As for the dog, hed have lots of friends and parks to get to know in this city.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 2, '02
  13. by   -jt
    Ocankhe, I can only speak to what my union does & the contracts our members negotiate. I dont know about how others operate but in our hospitals, the nurse is paid for her years as a nurse. It depends on the year she got her license, not the year she last worked in a hospital.

    In some of our represented facilities like Westchester Medical Center, there is no limit on past experience & shes automatically paid for all of the years shes been a nurse. She comes in to the facility at the pay scale of her number of years in nursing. In others it is for all of her years as a nurse up to a certain number of years. In my hospital a nurse who has been a nurse for 20 years would advance to the 15 yr pay scale after her probationary period is over. We intend to improve on that with the next contract. And its probably not going to go over too well with administration either, but that never stopped anything before.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 2, '02
  14. by   fergus51
    I know what you're saying jt. Personally, I won't work non-union anymore, but my dog is a chihuahua and I promised her the next move would be somewhere warmer! Your winters are worse than mine in Canada!

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