If you're a U.S. meeting professional with a salary just north of $60,000, consider yourself normal. According to the 2002 Salary Survey conducted by Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International, the average U.S. planner will earn $60,714 this year, up from $54,613 in 2000. The average salary for all respondents worldwide is $59,447.

MPI reported its salary findings regionally — Northeastern U.S., Mid-western U.S., Southern U.S., Western U.S., Canada, and International — and within those regions broke out compensation by title, type of organization, experience, and other criteria. Planners in the Northeast U.S. are, on average, the best paid. However, comparing planners at medical institutions, the North-east was, perhaps surprisingly, the least-well-compensated in the U.S.

Corporate planners tend to earn better salaries than their counterparts in associations, universities, and other institutions. However, those who have taken the risk to go out on their own as independent planners are generally reporting the highest salaries.

MPI's e-mail survey was returned by 1,509 meeting planners, 60 percent of whom spend between 75 percent to 100 percent of their working day on meeting management functions, while another 20 percent spend 50 percent to 74 percent of their time on meetings.

While many respondents are concerned about the future of their jobs — 19 percent fear losing their job in the next year and 45 percent have watched their company downsize in the past year — only 5 percent report a decrease in pay since September 11, and only 1 percent have been laid off or are unemployed. Almost half have earned a raise in the past seven months.

Average Compensation by Region
Western U.S. $61,924
Midwestern U.S. $55,250
Southern U.S. $57,894
Northeastern U.S. $66,453
Canada $40,102
Average Medical Institution Compensation
Western U.S. $54,080
Midwestern U.S. $55,800
Southern U.S. $62,957
Northeastern U.S. $45,125
Canada $30,000
Source: MPI