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Feature Article - July 2008

Money-Wise

Our 2008 Salary Survey of the Managed Recreation, Sports & Fitness Industry

By Emily Tipping


In each issue of Recreation Management, we spend our time looking at the trappings of the managed recreation, sports and fitness industry. We consider the various elements of your facilities, how you manage those facilities and the ways you market and program your facilities. It's not often that we get a chance to turn the spotlight onto careers in the industry, but that's exactly what we're doing in this first annual Salary Survey report.

As part of our annual State of the Industry Survey, we polled more than 2,000 professionals from across the industry and the country about various aspects of their career, including salary, education level, experience, job satisfaction and more. We've compiled the results here.

Generally, despite the widening economic woes faced by the American economy, the outlook for salaries among professionals in the recreation industry is positive. While few are laughing their way to the bank with six-figure salaries, the majority are happy in their jobs and generally positive about both their work and their future.

Who is the average participant in our survey?

In a nutshell, the average respondent is a 47-year-old, white male who has been in his job for the past eight-and-a-half years, most likely as a director of a parks and recreation agency. He has 18.8 years of experience in the industry, a bachelor's degree and earns a salary of $61,500. He most likely works in a suburban community somewhere in the Midwest, putting in an average of 47.7 hours weekly, with 12.8 employees reporting directly to him.

Of course, this snapshot represents a cascade of averages from all of our questions. The real picture is more nuanced than this, so read on to find out where you stand in relation to your peers.

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