Need validation that the business of planning events can be nerve-wracking? Check out careercast .com’s 2017 most-stressful jobs list, on which you’ll find event coordinators occupy the fifth spot, right after police officers and before newspaper reporters.
How well are meeting professionals compensated for this agita? If you believe careercast.com accurately assessed your stress level, you may feel it missed the mark salary-wise, with its average salary for event coordinators at $46,840. True, “event coordinator” is a lower-level job description for those familiar with our industry. But job sites that aren’t specific to the meetings industry lump event planners and event coordinators together.
At indeed.com, an event planner’s average salary — $40,693 — comes in even lower than at careercast.com. At payscale.com, it’s $45,000; glassdoor.com, $46,043; and recruiter.com, $49,000. Salary.com’s average for planners — $59,736 — is significantly higher, but at $82,050, sokanu.com’s salary for top-end planners hovers right around the average of $81,977, as determined by the results of Convene’s 2017 Annual Salary Survey.
Other results: While 75 percent of meeting professionals said they received a raise over the past year, it was mostly in the form of a regular annual increase that upped their pay by less than 5 percent. Meanwhile, 67 percent of respondents had additional responsibilities added to their job descriptions this year, for which three-quarters of them were not compensated.
What else does the survey reveal? Let’s get right to the nitty-gritty:
Age + experience The average respondent is 43 years old with 10 years of experience. Fifty-six percent of respondents are age 40 and older; 61 percent have more than 10 years of meeting-management experience. Ninety percent are female; 10 percent are male.
Pay + experience The average salary for meeting professionals with 1–3 years of experience is $51,754; 4–5 years, $62,000; 6–8 years, $69,976; 9–10 years, $74,155; and 10-plus years, $92,553.
Higher ed Sixty-five percent of respondents have earned a college degree; 12 percent have an advanced degree.
Designated workers Of those respondents who have a professional designation, 90 percent have earned the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) ; 7 percent have earned a CMM (Certification in Meeting Management); and 5 percent have earned their CAE (Certified Association Executive). Respondents with a CMP earned on average around $10,500 a year more than their colleagues without the designation: $86,847 versus $76,253.
Role play The average salary for an association executive is $108,669; association meeting professional, $77,205; corporate meeting professional, $84,527; government meeting professional, $70,000; independent meeting professional, $81,944; and education/nonprofit meeting professional, $71,389.
In charge Forty percent are managers, followed by directors (30 percent). Five percent are at the VP level. Just about half (49 percent) of respondents supervise a meetings staff; 28 percent supervise more than two employees.
Burning the midnight oil Respondents work an average of 46 hours per week. More than half (55 percent) log between 41 and 50 hours a week; 19 percent are on the job 51 to 60 hours; and 6 percent put in more than 60 hours each week.
Payment due Respondents said their pay is determined in part by the number of meetings they oversee annually (37 percent); size/scale of their largest meeting (23 percent); number of staff who report to them (20 percent); and post-meeting metrics (16 percent).
Support Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said their employers regularly pay for them to attend educational events, including conferences and workshops, or provide training funds for their professional development. Fourteen percent said the level of that support has increased (perhaps due to a gradually improved economy), while 77 percent said it has stayed the same.
Piling it on Sixty-six percent said they have had additional responsibilities added to their job description this year, and three-quarters — 75 percent — have not been compensated for taking on those additional duties.
More hikes Seventy-five percent received an increase in pay within the last 12 months, three points up from last year’s survey, in which 72 percent of respondents got a pay raise. Only 2 percent of respondents said their salaries decreased in the past 12 months. Less than half (43 percent) reported that their salary increased by less than 5 percent; 16 percent said it increased by 5 to 9.9 percent; and 16 percent received an increase of more than 10 percent. Twenty-three percent — compared to 25 percent in last year’s survey — said their salaries remained flat. Raises were primarily due to regular salary increases (69 percent); 18 percent received a promotion this year. Sixty percent said they expect to get a raise within the next year.
Bigger raises The average salary increase of 6.35 percent was two points higher than the average raise (4.35 percent) reported in our 2016 survey. The average salary for all respondents was $81,977, slightly above last year’s average of $80,505.
Brackets More than half of planners (60 percent) earn $70,000 or more annually. Annual compensation ranges: $30,000–$39,999, 3 percent; $40,000–$49,999, 7 percent; $50,000– $59,999, 15 percent; $60,000–$69,999, 15 percent; $70,000–$84,999, 20 percent; $85,000 to $99,999, 15 percent; $100,000–$124,999, 13 percent; $125,000 or more, 12 percent.
Feeling good Fifty-one percent of respondents reported that they are satisfied with their current salary; 38 percent expressed dissatisfaction. Seventy-one percent of respondents are satisfied with their specific jobs, and 87 percent said that they are satisfied with the meetings profession as a whole.
You are here While respondents work in locations throughout North America, they were most likely to be based in the Washington, D.C., area (27 percent), followed by the Chicago market (11 percent), the New York City area (6 percent), the Boston market (3 percent), and the Philadelphia metropolitan area (2 percent each). Forty-eight percent of respondents live and work in other areas of North America. Here’s the geographic breakdown: Northeast, 14 percent; Midwest/Central, 22 percent; South, 44 percent; West, 16 percent; Canada, 4 percent.
You go there Nearly all of the respondents (97 percent) plan meetings in the United States; 31 percent in Canada; 22 percent in Europe; 16 percent in Mexico; 13 percent in Asia; 12 percent in the Caribbean and/or Bermuda; 7 percent in Australia/Pacific Rim; 9 percent in South America; 6 percent in the Middle East; and 6 percent in Africa.
The Salary Survey was conducted by Lewis&Clark, lewisclarkinc.com, and sponsored by DMAI’s empowerMINT.com. All material © 2017 by PCMA. This survey, conducted in March and early April 2017, was completed by more than 800 respondents.