The employment landscape has fluctuated considerably since 612 meeting planners took our 2020 Salary Survey, which shows how much event organizers were making before Covid and its dire consequences hit the industry (the Northstar Meetings Group/Meetingjobs-Cadre 2022 Salary Survey is taking responses now). Pre-Covid, meeting planners earned an average of $87,251 a year; now that plenty event planning jobs are available again, salary offers for some current candidates with three to five years' experience are coming close to that amount, with opportunities in the $65,000 to $85,000 range, said Dawn Penfold, founder and president of MeetingJobs.com.
The State of Industry Employment
"It is still a strong candidate market out there," says Dawn Penfold, president of Meetingjobs, a Cadre company. "It seems there are more jobs than there are candidates."
Organizations that are hiring include B2B companies, third parties, medical education providers and some corporations. The companies are having to offer remote-work options, higher salaries, and benefits above and beyond the standard.
"Candidates are asking for more comp time, flexible work hours, work-life balance, student-loan assistance, tuition reimbursement, coverage of day-care costs, a mileage allowance — and even pet insurance," says Penfold.
The hardest position to fill still is the one asking for planners with 1-3 years' experience, she adds, because no one hired or mentored new meeting and event professionals in 2020-'21.
Planner Salary Research
In M&C's 2020 Salary Survey, comparing 2019 salaries with 2017, the average increased by a healthy 7.5 percent since the biennial study was last conducted in 2018. Overall, in 2019 planners earned an average base salary of $87,251. Use our exclusive biennial research on salaries and job satisfaction for meeting planners as a benchmark for going forward as the job market opens up again. (And please respond to our next salary survey, which will go out in late May 2022 and be published in the September 2022 issue of M&C.)
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 access a complete PDF of the 2020 Salary Survey, click here.