. M&C's 2020 Meeting Professionals Salary Survey | Northstar Meetings Group

M&C's 2020 Meeting Professionals Salary Survey

Our exclusive biennial research offers a comprehensive view of salaries and job satisfaction for meeting planners. Findings explore job security, stress levels, the value of professional certifications and more.

Life sure has changed since 612 meeting planners took M&C's 2020 Salary Survey before the coronavirus and its dire consequences hit the meetings industry. While respondents probably would have different numbers to report now — not to mention changes in their employment status — these findings still give a benchmark for when, in the future, compensation normalizes again. 

Comparing 2019 salaries with 2017, the average increased by a healthy 7.5 percent since the biennial study was last conducted in 2018. Overall, last year planners earned an average base salary of $87,251. 

The gender pay gap is still wide, and it opened up again somewhat: While female meeting planners earned 89 cents on the male dollar in 2017, in 2019 it was 84 cents on the dollar, but still better than the national average of 79 cents to the male dollar. In the 2018 survey, planners in the Northeast United States made the most money; this year, the Pacific Northwest took that crown.

To gather the data, M&C conducted an online survey in January and February with help from members of Meetingjobs.com, compiling statistics from corporate, association and third-party/independent planners.

To download a PDF of this survey, click here.

Industry Snapshot
  Corporate Association  Independent/Third Party  All Planners 
 Average base salary $99,173 $79,765  $76,747 $87,251 
 Average age 47 47.5  51  48 
 Years as a planner 15.2 15  17.1  15.2 
 Hours worked per week 47  45.2  48.4  46.7 
 Percentage with CMP  48%  43%  38%  44% 

 

Average Base Salaries by Region

United states map meetings salary survey

Pacific $95,935 
Mountain $74,100 
West North Central $76,000 
West South Central $89,157 
East North Central $77,582 
East South Central $62,045 
New England $89,500
Middle Atlantic $92,339 
South Atlantic $88,115 
Hawaii (based on one response) $65,000 

 

The Value of Certifications
Planner Type CMP Base Salary CMM Base Salary Base Salary Without Certification 
Corporate $108,925 $92,666 $90,175 
Association $84,426 $103,900 $76,068 
Third Party/Independent $77,163 $85,346 $77,764 
All Planners $94,159$93,118$81,708

 

Salary History: 2012-2020

salary-history-meetings

Planner Type 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 
Corporate $75,596 $75,969 $79,231 $93,719 $99,173 
Association $77,220 $73,741 $73,187 $74,622 $79,765 
Third Party/Independent $80,487 $71,161 $71,628 $74,248 $76,747 
All Planners$77,227$72,729$75,171$81,148 $87,251

 

The Gender Gap

meetings-salary-gender-gap2In this year’s sample, women earned 84 cents on the male dollar, 5 cents less than in 2018 but higher than the national average of 79 cents.

Industry Makeup Women Men 
Average Base Salary$84,547 $100,179 
Average Age 48 48 
Years as a Planner 17.75 18.2 
Hours Worked Per Week 48 46.5 

 

When did you last receive a raise?
2020 16% 
2019 48% 
2018 18% 
2017 7% 
2016 or earlier 11% 

 

How long do you plan to stay in the industry? 
Type of Planner Less than 1 year 1-2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years Indefinitely 
Corporate 1% 6% 17% 35% 41% 
Association 2% 7% 18% 29% 44% 
Third Party/Independent 2% 6% 22% 24% 46% 
All Planners2%6%19%30%43%

 

Planners who feel secure/very secure in their jobs
Type of Planner Percentage who feel
secure/very secure
2018
Percentage who feel
secure/very secure
2020
Corporate77% 85% 
Association 85% 87% 
Third Party/Independent 88% 81% 
All Planners80%85%

 

How do you rate your stress level?
Type of Planner Very low Low Moderate High Very high 
Corporate 2% 9% 51% 29%9% 
Association 1% 8% 40% 35% 16% 
Third Party/Independent 1% 3% 48% 31% 17& 
All Planners1%7%47%32%13%

 

Has your level of job satisfaction changed in the past year?
Planner TypeMore Satisfied No Change Less Satisfied Not in the Job in 2019 
Corporate 20% 52% 24% 4% 
Association18% 50% 31% 1% 
Third Party/Independent 26% 48% 25% 1% 
All Planners 21% 50% 27% 2% 

 

What would make you happier in your job?

meetings-salary-survey

On one planner’s wish list: “the opportunity to work exclusively in the event planning/management area and not also be responsible for marketing writing and public relations.”

More money 74% 
Less pressure and stress 44% 
Better advancement opportunities38% 
More respect and appreciation from management 36% 
Working fewer hours 31% 
Improved benefits package 25% 

 

Percentage of work time spent on meeting and event planning
Planner Type Less than 20% 21-40% 41-60% 61-80% 81-100% 
Corporate 5% 13% 34% 24% 24% 
Association 2% 14% 23% 27% 34% 
Third Party/Independent 8% 10% 16% 29% 37% 
All Planners5%13%26%26%30%

 

How many meetings did you plan in 2019?

meetings-survey-numberAverage number of meetings planned = 11

 

1 to 10 39% 
11 to 25 27% 
26 to 50 20% 
51 to 75 6% 
76 to 100 2% 
More than 100 6% 

 

Are you compensated for working more than 40 hours a week? 

Yes, overtime pay or bonus 13% 
Yes, comp time 17% 
I am entitled to it, but do not take it 2% 
No 72%