Feature Article - July 2009
Find a printable version here

Dollars and Sense

Our 2009 Salary Survey of the Managed Recreation, Sports & Fitness Industry

By Emily Tipping


The titles break down quite differently when considered according to industry segment. The largest segment, parks and recreation, are made up mostly of directors (39.8 percent) and administration management (23.9 percent), followed by operations/facility management (16.3 percent). At colleges and universities, there is an even higher number of director-level respondents (41.9 percent), followed by program and activity administrators (16.5 percent) and administration management (15.8 percent). Schools and school districts also lean mostly toward directors, represented by 37.2 percent of respondents in this segment, followed by operations/facility management, at 19.3 percent, and administration management at 18.6 percent. College/university respondents and schools respondents were the most likely to indicate they had "other" titles, including teaching positions and professorships. A third of YMCA respondents (33 percent) were directors, while nearly a quarter (23.3 percent) indicated they were chairman, CEO, president, vice president or owner in their current roles. At camps, less than a third (29.5 percent) were in the director role, while nearly a quarter (22.5 percent) were chairman, CEO, president, vice president or owner. Finally, at health clubs, the largest group, 30.7 percent, represented chairman, CEO, president, vice president or owner, followed by a fifth (20 percent) in administration management positions. (See Figure 1.) Respondents were overwhelmingly male and white, representing virtually no change from last year's survey. In 2008, 70.2 percent of respondents were male, and 29.7 percent were female. This year, there is no statistical difference, with 70.4 percent male and 29.6 percent female respondents.

Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (89.3 percent) were white/non-Hispanic. The next largest group were black/non-Hispanic, represented by 3.4 percent of respondents. Another 2.7 percent were Hispanic.

Only around 15 percent of respondents were younger than 35 years old. Around a fifth (20.1 percent) were between 35 and 44 years old, while more than a third (36.4 percent) were between the ages of 45 and 54. Just under a fifth (17.3 percent) were between 55 and 59, while 8.2 percent are approaching retirement at 60 to 65 years old. (See Figure 2.) This surely reflects the higher-level positions of the respondents to our survey, and the years of experience and career-building necessary to acquire such positions.