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Morgan Stanley releases a game-changing salary survey for private service

Mar 20, 2023
salary report for private service

At long last, private service has a reliable salary survey.


In early 2023, Morgan Stanley’s Private Wealth Management division released the “Estate and Household Staff Compensation Report.”

Download your copy here


Prepared by Botoff Consulting, the survey included approximately 300 US families/family offices which provided data on over 1,000 private service professionals, ranging from gardeners to directors of residences. The participants were split evenly across the United States, with 33% located on the West Coast, 35% on the East Coast, and 32% residing in the Central states.


I won’t bore you with too many of the stats – please check out the full report for the rest of the testing methodologies – however, I do want to point out some crucial highlights:

  • 69% of estate and household staff received salary increases in 2022.
  • 45% of management-level professionals received raises over 6%; of those, 17% received raises that exceeded 10% of their current salary. (By comparison, corporate employees receive an average 3-5% salary increase in the US.)
  • 71% of private service professionals (PSPs) received a bonus.
  • 25% of PSPs received Long-term Incentive (LTI) Compensation. This includes everything from retirement plans to profit sharing or stock incentives in the principals’ business ventures.


The report further defines the roles represented, covering everything from the number of staff and properties to the number of hours worked.

Compensation Market Data

One thing I really love about this report is the comprehensive nature of their data points. For example, the report cites four key drivers:

  1. Comparative market, such as geography.
  2. Family characteristics, family size, and the number of properties.
  3. Performance of the individual.
  4. The actual job responsibilities, the scope of the position, and decision-making authority.

In particular, I find the last two drivers to be key factors. In fact, this is exactly why we often dive into the scope of a position, as we have known for years that these variables can directly impact the salary offered for a job.


Base Salary vs. Total Compensation

The report clearly shows the differences between the base salary and total compensation. While most job seekers focus on the base salary when considering a job, HR knows that the rest of a compensation package can increase the total compensation by 30%.

So, what goes into total compensation? All those tasty extras, such as bonuses, benefits, and retirement plans.


Geographic Considerations

Let’s face it; some places have a higher cost of living than others. Good news! The report considers these factors and gives you a REAL formula for calculating a higher salary differential based on location.


For example, San Francisco is one of the most expensive markets indicated in the Morgan Stanley report. As such, a PSP should add 15% - 25% to the comparative salaries listed within the report. In general, the median base salary for an Estate Manager is listed at $125,000. When adding in a 20% differential for the San Francisco market, the base salary should be closer to $150,000. (Don’t forget – that is the base salary only, not counting total compensation.)


Why we are so excited about this report

One of the most crucial tools for salary negotiations is understanding what the current market is paying.


When working with us to determine their worth, most PSPs are shocked to find what salaries are offered in the current market. We often see people who are underpaid for their roles simply because they did not have accurate data specifically for our industry when they tried to negotiate their salary.


Just think: No more guessing about your value. No more trying to cobble together cost-of-living estimates for different markets. Not to mention gaining a real understanding that it is OK to ask for more – don’t forget, raises in private service outpaced the business world in many cases.


How we can help

While having the salary data in hand is vital, asking for a raise or negotiating your salary for a new job can be daunting – especially if you never did it before.


I personally love the art of negotiation. With my background in Human Resources and Private Service Recruiting, I understand the critical steps along the way, including the specific language that needs to be done throughout the process.


Just think of this fact: While raises are awesome, they are always based on a percentage of your most recent salary. You can never make up that lost ground if you come in at a low wage when hired. Therefore, all your future increases will be depressed.

For example:

  • Let’s add just $5,000 to a modest $40,000 annual salary…
  • Assuming a 5% pay increase over a 45-year career…
  • It equals an ADDITIONAL lifetime earnings of OVER $750,000

Just imagine what your additional earnings could be with effective salary negotiation tactics.


Need some help?

Wondering how we can help you with your job search or salary negotiations? Please schedule a consultation with Donna Shannon or Dia Kline to explore our private coaching options:


Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline

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