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Blackbaud (probably) has highest salaries in the state

Human Resources
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Blackbaud is headquartered on Daniel Island in the city of Charleston. (Photo/File)

Median pay for selected public companies in S.C.

 Company  HQ  Employee Median Pay
Blackbaud Daniel Island $91,328
Ingevity Corp. North Charleston $79,710
Domtar Corp. Fort Mill $69,047
Southern First Bancshares Greenville $59,578
3D Systems Corp. Rock Hill $55,683
Sonoco Products Co. Hartsville $48,645
South State Corp. Columbia $48,389

Source: AFL-CIO database, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; companies listed appear on the Russell 3000 Index

Don’t let the headline completely sway your thinking about your own employer, but among publicly traded companies, Blackbaud’s employees have one of the highest median wages compared to other companies headquartered in South Carolina.

Before you dust off your resume, you might want to look at the second-highest paid employees just up the road at Ingevity Corp. in North Charleston.

What’s going on?

Employee pay and CEO salaries have been making news lately because the Securities and Exchange Commission recently instituted a rule change under the Dodd-Frank Act that requires companies to disclose executive pay compared to employees.

You can look up the individual filings on the Edgar database, but the AFL-CIO (yes, the union) put together an online tool that pulls those records together and allows you to sort them by state if they appear in certain stock indexes.

Using that online tool, for example, we know that in 2017 Blackbaud’s CEO, Michael P. Gianoni, made nearly as much as the highest-compensated CEO at a publicly traded company in the Palmetto State when you figure in stocks and other compensation.

But that distinction went to Jack Sanders, who led Sonoco Corp. in 2017 and retired in April. The Hartsville company is now led by former COO Rob C. Tiede. But in the SEC filing, Sanders made $8.83 million a year, and Gianoni pulled in close with $7.99 million. Again, that includes stock, cash and other incentives.

However, the overall wage data can be misleading for a state like South Carolina, which has very few publicly traded companies, but a ton of private companies … which are, of course, private, and don’t have to disclose pay under Dodd-Frank.

For example, South Carolina has seven on the Russell 3000 stock index of publicly traded companies. California has 248. We used the Russell Index because none of South Carolina’s public companies are listed on the S&P 500. California has 36 companies on the S&P 500. Also, not all of South Carolina's public companies, such as Denny's and Benefitfocus, appear on the Russell 3000.

By comparison, the highest median salary for an employee in the Golden State is more than half a million. That employee works for Geron Corp. And for the record, the highest median salaries in Washington state aren’t with the Boeing Co., which is No. 8 on the list for the Pacific Northwest. Instead, that honor goes to Tableau Software.

Reach Andy Owens at 843-849-3142.

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