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Feature Article - July 2017

Slow and Steady

Our 10th Annual Salary Survey

By Emily Tipping


Some industry segments did report a decrease in average salary from 2016 to 2017. The greatest decrease was reported by respondents from military installations, whose average salaries fell 12.3 percent from 2016 to 2017. Other industry segments reporting decreases include: community and private recreation and sports centers (down 4.7 percent), colleges and universities (down 1.9 percent) and camps (down 0.7 percent).


Respondents from the Northeast region continue to be the highest earners, with an average salary of $76,600, 12 percent higher than the average for all respondents. In addition, respondents in this region saw the greatest increase in salary from 2016 to 2017, with a 4.5 percent jump from an average of $73,300. Respondents from the South saw the second-highest increase to salaries, with an increase of 3.4 percent from $64,100 in 2016 to $66,300 in 2017. Respondents in the Midwest reported a more modest increase of 1.6 percent, while the West was the only region to report a decrease in average salaries, which fell 2.5 percent from $72,200 in 2016 to $70,400 in 2017. (See Figure 6.)

Respondents who are the chairman, CEO, president, vice president or owner of their organizations again earned the highest average salary by job title, earning 40.5 percent more than the average for all respondents. They also reported the greatest salary increase from 2016 to 2017, with their average salary growing 5.7 percent from $90,900 in 2016 to $96,100 in 2017. Respondents with the "Director" job title also reported a salary increase in this time period, with a jump of 3.2 percent. Respondents in program and activity administration reported a much more modest, 0.4 percent increase to average salaries, while those in administration management, and operations and facility management saw their average salary decrease slightly from 2016 to 2017, by 0.4 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. (See Figure 7.)


Typically, the higher the level of education a respondent has achieved, the higher their salary. Respondents with advanced degrees reported the highest average salary of all respondents, at $92,500. They also saw the greatest increase to their salaries from 2016, with a rise of 6.2 percent. Respondents with bachelor's degrees also reported an increase, with their average salaries rising 4.7 percent, from $71,700 in 2016 to $75,100 in 2017. The only other respondents who reported an increase to average salaries were those with some college, but no degree. Their average salary remained virtually the same, rising 0.3 percent. Decreases were seen among respondents with master's degrees (a drop of 0.9 percent), associate's degrees (down 9.5 percent), and high school diplomas (11.1 percent). (See Figure 8.)