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

By Emily Tipping

Demographics & Salaries

When it comes to demographics, respondents to our survey were more likely to be male than is typical of the overall American workforce. While women comprised 46 percent of the total U.S. workforce in 2007, they made up only 29.7 percent of our survey respondents. More than 70 percent of survey respondents were male.

For women in the recreation, sports and fitness industry, our survey does reveal a pay gap, but it is not as large as the national average. Across the entire U.S. workforce, women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, a 29.9 percent difference. Women responding our survey reported earning $54,600, which is 18.1 percent less than the $64,500 earned by men responding to the survey. (See Figure 6.)

There are a couple of additional factors that help to further explain the pay disparity between men and women responding to our survey. On average, women reported having 17 years of experience in the recreation, sports and fitness industry, compared to an average of 19.6 years on average for the male respondents. In addition, women were less represented by higher-level job functions, such as chairman, CEO, president, vice president or owner; director; and operations and facility management.

Program and activity administrators, including activity and program directors, managers, coordinators, specialists, coaches and instructors, were more evenly split between men and women, with 55.2 percent of respondents in this category being male and 44.8 percent being female. (See Figure 7.) Respondents whose titles fell in this job category also reported the lowest average salary.

While the vast majority (91.9 percent) of respondents to the survey were white/non-Hispanic, respondents from the black/non-Hispanic and Hispanic groups were more likely to report earning a higher salary. Among whites responding to the survey, the average salary was $61,000. For blacks, the average was $68,700, 12.6 percent greater than the average for whites, and for Hispanics, the average was $69,400, 13.8 percent higher than for whites.