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

By Emily Tipping

Figure 7: Job Title, by Gender
Chairman, CEO, President, VP, Owner 78.3%21.7%
Director 74.1%25.9%
Administration/Management (Administrator, Manager, Superintendent) 65.9%34.1%
Operations/Facility Management (Operations Manager, Facility Manager, Building Manager, Supervisor) 75.5%24.5%
Program/Activity Administration (Activity or Program Director, Manager, Coordinator, Specialist, Coach, Instructor) 55.2%44.8%
Services (Planner, Designer, Architect, Consultant) 70%30%

The average participant was 47 years old. Just 6 percent of respondents were younger than 30. The largest group—more than a third (36 percent) were in their 50s, while just under a third (32.3 percent) were in their 40s. This likely is reflective of the higher-level positions held by the majority of respondents. Only 2.1 percent were older than 65. As might be expected, salary tended to increase with age, until the older-than-65 group was reached, where salary tapered off a bit. (See Figure 8.)

In addition to variations according to age, gender and race, there was a great deal of disparity in salaries, as well as salary increases, depending on the type of facility the respondent worked for.

The highest salaries were reported by respondents from golf clubs or country clubs, who reported earning $73,900—20.2 percent higher than the average across all respondents. Others who reported earning salaries that were higher than the average included those working for military installations (13.5 percent higher), resorts and resort hotels (8 percent higher), schools and school districts (7.3 percent higher), and parks and recreation departments (2.9 percent higher).

The lowest salaries were seen among respondents from campgrounds and RV parks, who reported earnings of $52,200—17.8 percent lower than the average across all respondents. Others earning salaries that were lower than average included those working for youth and private camps (16 percent lower), sports clubs, health clubs and fitness clubs (14.1 percent lower), colleges and universities (7.5 percent lower), YMCAs, YWCAs and Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) (7.3 percent lower), community recreation and sports centers (5.7 percent lower) and private recreation and sports centers (1.5 percent lower). (See Figure 9.)

Despite the fact that they fall relatively close to the middle in terms of their overall average salary, respondents from parks and recreation organizations were the most likely to have seen a salary increase from 2006 to 2007, and they were the most optimistic about their likelihood of receiving another salary increase in 2008. More than 80 percent of respondents from parks and recreation departments said they had received a salary increase in 2007, with an average raise of 3.9 percent. More than 81 percent are expecting an increase in 2008, with the average raise being 3.4 percent.