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Events Industry Average Pay Raises by 7 Percent

(Pictured above: Michelle Boos-Stone of Five Elements Consulting Group interprets a session with her drawing at Convening Leaders 2019.)

Convene, PCMA’s industry-leading magazine, published its annual Salary Survey showing that nearly three-quarters of business events organizers received a raise over the past year—and their average increase of 7 percent is more than twice the average for North American workers across all industries.

Still, only half those who responded to Convene’s survey reported satisfaction with their current salary, which averages $82,769 for all respondents. Long hours (averaging 46 hours each week), high stress, lack of organizational recognition and limited flexibility—particularly in having the option to work at least part of the time from home—were frequently cited as aspects survey participants liked least about their jobs.

What they liked most was the creativity that comes with designing events, collaborating with their peers and industry partners, the satisfaction of seeing months of complex planning come to fruition and the knowledge that their events help advance professionals and industries—and contribute to the greater good.

The annual Salary Survey is one of Convene‘s most important and sought-after pieces of research.

“It not only benchmarks events organizers’ compensation across different levels, but with our respondent feedback, it puts our finger on the pulse of this industry,” saiys Michelle Russell, Convene’s editor in chief, who has analyzed results of the last 17 salary surveys. “Their responses provide Convene and PCMA with valuable insights about how they see their roles, and their challenges and opportunities. We use these insights to help inform the educational content we offer — plus, the results offer a snapshot of the business events strategist role that we can share within the events industry and with a broader audience.”

The 2019 Salary Survey found 80 percent of respondents are satisfied with the business events industry as a whole, yet only 69 percent are happy with their specific jobs. That’s a lower job satisfaction rate than other workforce studies. For instance, a CNBC/Survey Monkey Workplace Happiness Index published in April, which polled 8,664 professionals in the U.S. across a wide swath of industries, found that 85 percent of workers are satisfied with their jobs.

“Going back to the comments respondents made, I think the disparity has a lot to do with the high level of stress that comes with their jobs and how few of their organizations’ leaders recognize the skill and expertise required to execute successful events,” Russell adds. “That’s what continues to drive PCMA and Convene to elevate the profession.”

Nearly 550 respondents participated in the survey, which was conducted in March and early April 2019 by Lewis&Clark.

Other findings include:

  • The average salary for meetings professionals with 1–3 years of experience is $52,986; 4–5 years, $65,042; 6–8 years, $66,802; 9–10 years, $75,156; and 10-plus years, $94,284.
  • Respondents with a CMP earned on average more than $8,600 a year than their colleagues without the designation. Their average pay was $87,510 vs. $78,850.
  • Other factors that determine compensation include the number of meetings they oversee annually, size/scale of their largest event, number of staff who report to them and post-meeting metrics.
  • And while most of the respondents work on events that further professionals’ development, less than 75 percent said their employers regularly pay for them to attend educational events, including conferences and workshops, or provide training funds for their professional development. However, 11 percent said that level of support has increased in the last year.

PCMA educates, inspires and listens, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. Its mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 40 countries. For more info, visit pcma.org.

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