MetLife Charlotte jobs to pay much less than those in Cary

deroberts@charlotteobserver.comApril 25, 2013 

MetLife on Wednesday laid out the average salaries it will pay at its new hubs in Cary and Charlotte – and the average Cary salary will be about twice that of the Charlotte hub.

Cary will be the site of a global technology and operations hub, employing about 1,300. The New York-based insurance company has not yet announced its Cary location. Charlotte will be the site for the MetLife’s U.S. retail operations, with 1,386 jobs at Ballantyne Corporate Park.

On Monday, MetLife spokeswoman Meghan Lantier told The Charlotte Observer that the Charlotte jobs will pay about $58,000 on average, while the Cary jobs would pay roughly $80,000 on average. Lantier on Wednesday revised the Cary number, saying those jobs will pay $112,000 on average, nearly double the Charlotte figure.

In picking Cary over Charlotte for the higher-paying tech jobs, the proximity to the Research Triangle made it attractive, said Eric Steigerwalt, executive vice president of U.S. retail for MetLife.

“The idea that Raleigh has a real reputation for technology certainly was high” on MetLife’s priority list, he said. He described the Cary jobs as “programming.”

At $58,000, the average Charlotte salary will be just barely above $57,144, which the N.C. Commerce Department says is the average wage for Mecklenburg County.

In Charlotte, the company plans to hire people for the division that sells individual life insurance policies and annuities, said Steigerwalt, who is moving to Waxhaw to oversee the Charlotte hub. A variety of positions are expected to be housed in the Charlotte hub, including those in sales, product development, marketing, finance, compliance and legal.

MetLife can receive up to about $89 million in state incentives, including $87.2 million in a state Job Development Investment Grant.

To qualify for the incentives, MetLife must pay its North Carolina workers an average salary of $65,513. The company has said its average salary in the state will be about $80,000.

The company also has been approved for $2.9 million in incentives from the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and $1.9 million each from Wake County and Cary.

MetLife officials say they still don’t know how many of the company’s employees will be relocated to North Carolina, so it remains unclear how many of the jobs will go to residents already living in the state.

Staff writer David Bracken contributed.

Roberts: 704-358-5248

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