Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2019

IHRSA Reports on Health Club Compensation

By Dave Ramont

The International Health, Racquet and Spotrsclub Association (IHRSA) is one of the world's leading authorities on the commercial health club industry. As part of the association's mission to grow, promote and protect the health and fitness industry, IHRSA regularly conducts industry and consumer research, along with club operator studies.

Recently, IHRSA released a detailed analysis of compensation and benefits practices for the health club industry, the "2019 IHRSA Health Club Employee Compensation & Benefits Report." Data from 150 North American facilities was analyzed to calculate the salary and compensation results provided in the report.

Payroll is one of the largest expenses among health clubs, as hiring and investing in staff plays a critical role in serving and retaining members and clients, according to Jay Ablondi, IHRSA's executive vice president of global products. "IHRSA has regularly conducted employee compensation research for nearly 20 years to help club operators analyze and gauge their compensation practices against other club businesses," Ablondi said.

The new report provides compensation data for approximately 50 job titles, including hourly pay and commissions data for club-level employees as well as base salary and total compensation for club and executive-level staff. The report, which is published every two years by IHRSA, also provides data on retirement plans, medical insurance and leave days, as well as other benefits.

"Along with the in-depth report data across various levels of the organization, club operators can refer to infographic snapshots for a quick overview of pay for CEO, general manager, personal trainer and nutrition coach job titles," said Melissa Rodriguez, IHRSA's senior research manager.

Some of the key findings reported in the study include:

  • 93 percent of participating clubs provide medical insurance to salaried employees, with clubs reporting an average health insurance premium increase of just over 6 percent from 2017 to 2018.
  • More than 75 percent of clubs offer a retirement plan, with nearly 80 percent of clubs matching employee contributions to retirement plans
  • Clubs provide an average of nine paid leave days to salaried employees with less than one year on the job.

"New to this year's report is an analysis of common recruiting and retention measures among participating health clubs," said Rodriguez. Clubs utilized various methods to recruit new employees, with nearly half of responding clubs reporting employee referrals as the most successful tool in recruiting employees. About 30 percent of clubs cited internet/website postings as proving the most successful method. While responding companies reported that it took less than a month to fill non-management positions, they also reported that it took just over a month to fill management positions and about two months to fill executive or senior management positions.

The report provides compensation information for senior management and corporate staff, salaried club-level employees and hourly club-level employees. The report is based on voluntary survey data provided by IHRSA member clubs in the United States and Canada. Salary information for job titles is provided by club type, geographical location and size in total annual revenues.

To learn more about this and other research from IHRSA, visit

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