Feature Article - July 2012
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In the Money

Our Fifth Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


Some segments of the industry saw better gains than others, while other segments saw their salaries fall slightly in 2012. Increases were reported among respondents from colleges and universities, schools and school districts, health clubs, community centers, and resorts and resort hotels. The greatest increase was reported by respondents from health clubs, who saw their salaries increase by 23.7 percent from an average of $50,300 in 2011 to $62,200 in 2012. They were followed by resort respondents, with a 13.5 percent increase; community centers, with a 6.8 percent increase; colleges and universities, with 3.4 percent; and schools with 1.3 percent. (See Figure 5.)


Decreases were reported from 2011 to 2012 for respondents from parks, golf clubs and military installations. The greatest decrease was found among golf club respondents, who reported a 6.9 percent decrease from an average salary of $96,800 in 2011 to $90,100 in 2012. That said, golf club respondents are still by far the highest earners among all respondents. Respondents from military installations reported the second steepest drop of 6.7 percent, from an average salary of $71,300 in 2011 to $66,500 in 2012. Parks reported a 0.6 percent decrease in the same time period, while YMCA respondents reported no change to their salaries in the past year.

Respondents from the Midwest and Southern states saw their salaries rise from 2011 to 2012, while those in the Northeast and West reported decreases in that same time period. The greatest increase was found in the Midwest, where respondents reported 6.3 percent growth in average salaries, from $58,600 in 2011 to $62,300 in 2012. Those in the South reported a 4.7 percent increase, from an average of $61,800 in 2011 to $64,700 in 2012. Respondents in the Northeast reported the greatest decline, with average salaries falling 4.3 percent from $69,000 in 2011 to $66,000 in 2012. Western respondents reported a 1.7 percent decrease, from an average of $69,300 in 2011 to $68,100 in 2012. (See Figure 6.)

When salary is broken down by job title, one can see that some job roles had a better year than others. Directors, administration/management, and program/activity administrators reported an increase in average salary from 2011 to 2012, while operations/facility management and chairman/CEO/president respondents reported a decrease.

The greatest increase was seen by those in program and activity administration. These are the lowest earners among respondents, but saw the greatest increase, with average salaries rising 5.5 percent from $45,200 in 2011 to $47,700 in 2012. Directors, among the highest paid, saw the second greatest increase, reporting a 4.5 percent jump from an average salary of $72,800 in 2011 to $76,100 in 2012. Administration/management professionals reported a 3.1 percent increase from $66,800 in 2011 to $68,900 in 2012.