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 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. Respondants said employees at the vice president level and higher (excluding CEO and COO positions) will receive an average 3.7 percent merit increase this year, compared to increases of 4 percent and 4.3 percent in 2007 and 2006, respectively. Nonexempt, nonsupervisory employees are budgeted to receive an average 3.5 percent merit increase.

A pittance, perhaps, but consider that median total compensation for top execs such as CEOs and COOs declined by about 7 percent. In the bottom tiers, groundskeepers and maintenance technicians will 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, with a turnover rate of 59.9 percent. Still, that is a notable decline from an all-time high of 70.8 percent in 2004.

The complete compensation survey results include a planning report with a range of additional employment-related data and can be purchased online at