Feature Article - July 2011
Find a printable version here

Money & Happiness

Our Fourth Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


And Now to the Money

The average salary for all survey participants dropped by 2.3 percent this year, from $65,300 in 2010 to $63,800 for this year's respondents. Much of this change was driven by an increase in the percentage of respondents making less than $70,000 a year. Last year 65.1 percent of respondents reported salaries at these levels, while in 2011 that figure rose to 66.6 percent.

Considering salaries according to the segment of the market covered, only four market segments saw average salaries rise from 2010 to 2011. The greatest increase was found among respondents from military installations, whose salaries rose 8.4 percent from an average of $65,800 in 2010 to $71,300 in 2011. They were followed by those from golf and country clubs, who reported the highest average salary in 2010, at $91,600, and saw an increase of 5.7 percent in 2011 to $96,800. Less substantial increases were reported by respondents from resorts and resort hotels (2.1 percent) and parks and recreation (0.3 percent). College and university respondents reported no change to their average salary from 2010 to 2011.


The steepest decline in salaries from 2010 to 2011 was reported by respondents from health clubs. These respondents had an average salary of $50,300 in 2011, a decrease of 18.5 percent from 2010. Sharp declines were also reported by respondents from YMCAs, who saw a 9.7 percent drop. Respondents from schools and school districts, community recreation centers and camps also saw their average salary decrease by 5.6 percent or more in 2011. (See Figure 5.)

No region was spared from the drop in average salaries in 2011. The greatest decline was found among respondents in the Midwest, who saw their salaries drop 4.2 percent from an average of $61,200 in 2010 to $58,600 in 2011. They were followed by those in the West, with a decrease of 2.4 percent, and the South, at 2 percent. Respondents in the Northeast also reported a slight decrease of 1 percent from 2010 to 2011. (See Figure 6.)