Feature Article - July 2016
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Things Are Looking Up

Our Ninth Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


Career Paths

As might be expected, given their career achievements, the majority of "Click to enlarge", ""vey were better educated than the U.S. population as a whole. Nearly 40 percent of Americans of working age held a college degree as of 2014, according to the Lumina Foundation. This compares with 78.9 percent of survey respondents. Some 44.8 percent had earned a bachelor's degree, while 31.4 percent have a master's degree, and 2.7 percent have earned an advanced degree or Ph.D. Another 12.5 percent said they had attended some college without earning a degree. Some 6.3 percent have an associate's degree, and 2.3 percent have earned a high school diploma.

On average, respondents have been working in their current position for 11.9 years. Some 46.6 percent of respondents have been in their current position for at least 10 years, with 19.4 percent reporting they've been in their current jobs for 20 years or more. Just over a fifth (21.5 percent) said they'd been in their current position from five to nine years, and 31.8 percent have been in their current jobs for less than five years. (See Figure 2.)

On average, respondents have been working in the recreation, sports and fitness industry for 22 years. More than half (55 percent) reported that they have been working in the industry for at least 20 years, and 27.4 percent have been in the industry for 30 years or more. Those with less than 10 years of industry experience make up 17.2 percent of the survey population. (See Figure 3.)

Let's Talk Money?

Last year's salary survey showed a 2.7 percent decrease to salaries year over year. In 2016, that loss was nearly recovered, with a 2.6 percent increase in the average salary reported by respondents. On average, respondents earn $67,300.

There was an increase in the percentage of respondents who reported they earned more than $100,000, from 11.8 percent in 2015, to 12.1 percent in 2016. Likewise, the percentage reporting a salary of between $50,000 and $100,000 also increased, from 54.3 percent in 2015 to 57.9 percent in 2016. At the same time, the number earning less than $50,000 dropped slightly, from 34 percent in 2015 to 30 percent in 2016. (See Figure 4.)


While overall, respondents saw a 2.6 percent increase in their average salary, some industry segments fared better than others. The greatest increase was seen among respondents from health clubs, with an increase of 8 percent, from an average of $58,800 in 2015 to $63,500 in 2016. They were followed by YMCAs, with a 7.9 percent increase, and community recreation centers, with a 7.7 percent increase. Also reporting increases this year were schools and school districts, with a 6.7 percent increase in average salaries, colleges and universities (3.3 percent) and parks and recreation (1.8 percent). (See Figure 5.)