Management Economics

Salary Levels in the Swine Industry

  • Terrance M. Hurley (Iowa State University)
  • Peter F. Orazem (Iowa State University)
  • James B. Kliebenstein (Iowa State University)
  • Dale Miller (National Hog Farmer)


In general, employees in the pork production industry indicated that receiving a fair salary that was reflective of their work responsibilities was quite important to them. In addition, other factors such as personal communication between the employer and the employee and other working conditions were quite important. While receiving a fair salary was important to job satisfaction, there was little additional satisfaction from salaries above what they considered fair. Given a fair salary, other benefit issues became important for employee job satisfaction.

Salary levels for employees in the swine production industry have increased from the 1990-1995 time period. As shown below, this increase was about 26%, a relative increase that was greater than for the workforce in general during this time period. However, while the relative increase was greater, the salary levels in 1995 lagged behind the salary levels for a typical individual in the workforce. Thus, while the salary levels in the swine production workforce have gained ground during the five-year period, there still remains some ground to be made up for the salary to be competitive with other industries.

The swine industry is beginning to focus on the area of employee retention. This is an important item when looking at the long-term competitive structure of the industry. It is important that the industry does not become expert at finding and training labor, only to lose that same labor to higher wage employers. The industry needs to recognize that once workers become trained, they become not only more valuable to that operation, but they also become more valuable to others, as well. These changes in labor can be felt throughout the entire operation and may be quite costly. In many cases the employee may be working with hundreds of thousands of dollars of capital. An additional few thousand dollars worth of salary, along with good employeeemployer relationships may be a small price to pay to get the right combination of individuals into the workforce to improve the profitability of the large capital outlay of the production facility.

Keywords: ASL R1398

How to Cite:

Hurley, T. M., Orazem, P. F., Kliebenstein, J. B. & Miller, D., (1997) “Salary Levels in the Swine Industry”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 1997
Peer Reviewed