Feature Article - July 2008
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Our 2008 Salary Survey of the Managed Recreation, Sports & Fitness Industry

By Emily Tipping

Does Money Equal Happiness?

The average respondent to our salary survey has an annual base salary of $61,500. Nearly four out of 10 respondents (38.5 percent) are earning less than $50,000. More than half (52.9 percent) earn between $50,000 and $100,000. Less than 10 percent can boast a six-figure salary. (See Figure 1.)

Salaries among professionals working for recreation, sports and fitness facilities compare favorably with statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. The most recent Census figure indicates a median annual household income of $48,201 in the United States, 27.6 percent lower than the average earnings of our survey participants.

That said, while more than three-quarters (75.5 percent) of respondents are expecting to see their salaries increase from 2007 to 2008, the average increase reported is 3.8 percent, which is slightly lower than the most recent inflation numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. From May 2007 to May 2008, that rate was 4.2 percent.

Slightly fewer respondents (73.2 percent) said that their salaries had increased from 2006 to 2007, with the average increase in that time period being 4.1 percent. More than half (52.3 percent) of those who had received a raise in 2007 indicated that their salary had gone up by 1 percent to 3 percent. Another third or so (33.8 percent) indicated a raise of between 3 percent and 6 percent. Nearly 22 percent of respondents saw their salaries increase by more than 6 percent in 2007.

For more than a quarter (26.8 percent) of respondents, though, salaries remained flat or actually decreased from 2006 to 2007. The good news is that far fewer are expecting to see decreases from 2007 to 2008, though still nearly a quarter are not expecting an increase either. (See Figure 2.)