Meeting Mentor Magazine

October 2019

How Does Your Salary Measure Up?

Meeting planning is not for the faint of heart. There are long hours, lots of stress and limited opportunities to work from home, and nobody outside of the meeting planning community really gets what you do. But the creativity, collaboration, and ability to contribute to the greater good of attendees and the industries planners serve make it all worthwhile, according to the results of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) “Salary Survey 2019 Give and Take.” As one planner noted, there’s satisfaction in having the “ability to make an impact in a sector (health and human services) which is changing communities and lives.”

But the story is a little different when it comes to salaries. While 72 percent got a pay bump over the past year — an average raise of 7 percent, which is double what most workers in North America got last year, according to PCMA — only half said they thought the $82,769 average salary added up to adequate compensation for the work they do. And while 80 percent were copacetic with working in the events industry, just 69 percent felt the same about their specific job, a lower job satisfaction rate than is generally reported for workers across industries in the U.S.

Salary Breakdowns
Of course, salaries varied depending on factors including experience, education, role and geographic location. For example, average pay for those in their first three years of meeting planning work was $52,986, compared to $65,042 for those with four to five years of experience, $66,802 for those with six to eight years on the job, $75,156 for nine to 10 years in the field and $94,284 for industry veterans with more than 10 years of experience. Those with a Certified Meeting Professional designation earned an average of $8,600 more than those without their CMPs.

Salaries also varied depending on the type of organization the planners serve. Average salaries reported were as follows:
Independent meeting professionals: $89,490
Corporate meeting professionals: $84,298
Medical meeting professionals: $83,782
Association meeting professionals: $79,989
Government meeting professionals: $70,357
Education/nonprofit meeting professionals: $70,000

In terms of geography, meeting managers will find it literally pays to seek jobs in the West, where they earn an average salary of $82,586, compared to $79,737 in the Northeast, $72,857 in the South and $67,897 in the Midwest. For directors, the Northeast showed the highest average pay at $106,579, compared to $105,313 in the West, $97,421 in the South and $93,243 in the Midwest. If you’re a vice president, however, the West and Midwest are your sweetest salary spots, each with averages of $135,000, compared to $123,438 in the Northeast and $122,500 in the South.

Other factors determining pay include the number of meetings planners manage each year, the size and scale of their largest meeting, the size of the team they manage and post-meeting metrics.

Nearly 550 respondents participated in the survey, which was conducted in March and early April 2019 by Lewis & Clark, Inc. For more survey results, visit the full PCMA Salary Survey 2019. — Sue Pelletier

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 2,500 corporations and associations through our 325 Associates globally. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, the leading publication for senior meeting planners, is circulated to the clients, prospects and sales associates of ConferenceDirect, which books more than 3.87 million room nights. www.meetingmentormag.com

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