Determining what a meeting planner’s salary should be can be tough. Here are some stats and tools that may help.
Meeting planner salaries are tough to pin down, at least in part because the job title itself can encompass everything from a logistics-only administrative position to a full-on strategic vice president-level position. They also will vary based on years of experience, education, certifications, area of the country, type of organization and myriad other factors. That said, we sifted through several sources to glean some intel you can use during your next salary negotiation.
Median meeting planner salaries: According to the Best Jobs report by US News & World Report, planners — who hold the #21 spot on the Best Business Jobs list — made a median salary of $50,600 in 2019, the last year data was available. This means that a quarter made more than that, $65,860, and a quarter made less, $37,640. The picture is a bit brighter on Salary.com, where the median is $55,827, with ranges from $45,361 to $66,486, as calculated on June 28, 2021.
Average meeting planner salary: In 2019, the average salary in the US News report was $54,880. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay is a tad higher — $59,433. Senior planners averaged $73,869/year according to the Glassdoor stats — with the highest salary reported being $83,269/year and the lowest being $42,420/year. But that also can vary depending on title, with meeting and event planner titles bringing in $64,151/year, events managers earning $59,704/year, and meeting and convention planners scoring $55,949/year. But check the job listings to get a feel for what’s out there now. For example, one position listed with a financial services company on 7/20/21 ranged from $84,000-$110,000, while another for a medical communication company was offering just $34,976.
According to PCMA’s 2020 Salary Survey, nearly seven planners out of 10 planners (69 percent) said they earn $70,000 or more annually. Annual compensation ranges: $30,000–$39,999, 1 percent; $40,000–$49,999, 6 percent; $50,000–$59,999, 10 percent; $60,000– $69,999, 14 percent; $70,000–$84,999, 22 percent; $85,000 to $99,999, 16 percent; $100,000–$124,999, 15 percent; $125,000 or more, 16 percent.
Experience matters: According to PayScale.com, an entry-level event planner can expect a total compensation of just over $39,000, while someone with up to four years of experience may earn an average of around $46,000. This goes up to $54,000 for those with 5-9 years of experience, to $58,000 for those with 10-19 years of experience, and $63,000 for those who’ve been planning events for 20-plus years.
Best-paying places to work: The U.S. News & World Report found the highest paying metropolitan areas for meeting professionals to be San Jose, Calif., Trenton, N.J., New York City, Seattle, and Bridgeport, Conn. The best states were New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Washington state. According to Salary.com, top-paying cities include San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, Chicago, Boston, New York and Dallas. Career website Indeed.com also gives the nod to D.C., New York, Miami and Chicago as top-paying areas for planners, though it adds Philadelphia, Denver, Charlotte, N.C., and Orlando into its top 10 list.
Common benefits: Of course, meeting planner salaries are not exclusively about the paycheck, especially these days. According to Indeed, some common planner perks include flexible schedules, mileage reimbursement, prescription drug coverage, paid time off, the ability to work from home, health insurance and 401(k).
Handy tools: One handy tool on the Salary.com site allows you to plug in your years of relevant experience, level of education, who you report to, and the number of people you manage to come up with a salary range more personalized to your specific circumstances. A similar tool is available on PayScale.com, where you can plug in your location, years of experience, and other factors to customize your results. Ziippia also has a tool that shows meeting planner salaries by state and also enables you to compare salaries in individual cities or states against the national average, and average salaries based on gender — yes, there is a gender gap even in a female-dominated industry such as meeting planning — race and education level.
Even when the pay may never launch you to millionaire status, job satisfaction tends to be pretty high. For example, PayScale finds event planners giving their job satisfaction a 4.1 rating on a scale of 1-5. “On average, event planners are highly satisfied with their jobs,” the site concludes.
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