Sometimes, you just have to take your 3.5 percent and like it. Mid-level multifamily executives might not be laughing their way to the bank, but at least they are seeing tangible increases in 2008 salaries, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Multi Housing Council's 2008 Apartment Survey of Compensation and Benefits Practices. Firms responding to the annual survey reported that employees at the vice president level and higher (excluding CEO and COO positions) are budgeted to receive an average 3.7 percent merit increase this year, compared to increases of 4.0 percent and 4.3 percent in 2007 and 2006, respectively. Nonexempt, nonsupervisory employees are budgeted to receive an average 3.5 percent merit increase, according to the survey.

A pittance, perhaps, but consider that median total compensation for top executives such as CEOs and COOs declined by approximately 7 percent. In the bottom tiers, groundskeepers and maintenance technicians will likely see near-negligible increases in total compensation, while leasing consultants will see their pay remain flat.

Despite the somber paycheck news, multifamily firms have made significant strides toward controlling employee turnover, which declined to 36.9 percent from last year's 42.8 percent and 2006's staggering 59.2 percent. Leasing consultants remain the most active job hoppers, once again claiming the highest turnover rate among all job categories at 59.9 percent. Still, that is a notable decline from an all-time high of 70.8 percent in 2004.

Complete survey results are available for purchase (online at and include a planning report that covers a wide range of additional employment-related data.