As of this writing, the U.S. employment outlook is still pretty bleak, with an unemployment rate hovering around 8.6 percent, according the U.S. Department of Labor. However, healthcare in general seems to be doing better than many segments, adding an average of 27,000 jobs per month last year. While it may not feel that way to out-of-work CME professionals, results from the premier Medical Meetings Employment and Compensation Survey indicate that, while not unscathed from the economic downturn, the CME community is holding its own—and looking forward to brighter days in the coming year.

Related Charts:
PDF charts of Demographics, Salary Changes 2010-2011, Average Annual Salaries, CME Department Activities and Budgets, and mor

 

Employment Outlook

While 16 percent of respondents who were queried for the October 2011 survey said their departments laid off one or more employees in the past year, and 13 percent said the number of hours some employees work had been reduced, 38 percent said they had added full-time employees, and another 26 percent added some part-timers. As for 2012, 60 percent don’t expect to see any staffing changes in their offices, while 34 percent are planning to add to their rosters this year.

Not surprisingly, the main culprit for those who reduced their CME office staffing levels was the economy, said 46 percent of respondents. Another 36 percent said changes in available commercial support also caused them to take a hit in 2011, and 21 percent blamed changes in the types of formats of CME activities being produced now. A rise in the number of virtual and online events (18 percent), along with increasing state and federal regulations affecting healthcare provider/industry interactions (16 percent), and changes in the level of financial support given to the department by the parent organization (13 percent) also were factors. Other factors cited for layoffs included “Lack of programs,” “lack of work,” “fewer jobs,” “less income,” and “lack of industry funding.”

More CME Salary Survey Results:
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Salary and Compensation: Average CME provider salary, organizational breakdowns, bonus and raise data, and future compensation trendlines

 

Employer Snapshot

Twenty-five percent of the respondents work in hospitals/healthcare delivery systems; 18 percent in national/international medical or scientific societies or associations; 14 percent in publishing/medical education companies; 14 percent in schools of medicine; 5 percent regional/state/county/local medical or scientific societies or associations; with the rest in an “other” category that included pharma/device companies, clinical research organizations, government agencies, technology companies, and third-party companies. Most said their employers are accredited by at least one organization, the most common of which is the Accreditation Council for CME (56 percent), followed by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (20 percent), recognized state accreditors (19 per-
cent), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (19 percent).

While responses ran the gamut, a third of respondents said their department is responsible for up to 25 CME/CPD activities annually; more than a quarter, however, said their department handled more than 100 per year—these were most often medical schools and hospitals. Almost a quarter also said their budgets for these activities was in the $1 million to $4.9 million range, while 19 percent put their department’s budget at less than $50,000. The $1 million to $4.9 million budget range was most often found in medical schools and national/international medical or scientific societies/associations (35 percent of respondents from both these organizational types reported the budgets in this range, and 29 percent from publishing/medical education companies). Medical societies and medical schools scored the biggest budgets (15 percent of these two groups reported budgets in 2011 of more than $5 million), while just 7 percent of those working in publishing/medical education companies reported CME budgets over $5 million. Those reporting the lowest budgets were most likely to be hospitals/healthcare delivery systems (28 percent reported budgets under $50,000, while less than 10 percent of all the other organization types fell into this range).

Who Are These People?

Thirty-eight percent of respondents said their job title was best described as director/manager of education/CME/training; 26 percent were meeting/conference planner/managers/directors; and 18 percent identified themselves as executives (chairman, CEO, COO, CFO, president, owner, etc.). The remainder fell under a miscellaneous category that included compliance/accreditation specialists (6 percent), and less than 1 percent each said they were convention planners/managers, trade show/exhibit managers, administrative assistants, and medical writers. Forty-six percent had up to five direct reports, while 38 percent said their jobs did not include managing staff. Only 3 percent had more than 20 direct reports.

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Twenty-seven percent had been in their present jobs for five to nine years; 18 percent were relative newbies with less than two years at their current positions. Publishing/medical education companies seem to be most newbie-friendly, with 29 percent reporting less than two years with their companies, followed by medical societies/associations (15 percent) and hospitals (14 percent). While 12 percent of the total respondents said they had been in their jobs for 10 to 14 years, just 3 percent have hung in there for 30 or more years (these respondents work at hospital/healthcare delivery systems and medical schools). The percentages are similar for the number of years they reported being with their current organizations, with the largest number (30 percent) saying five to nine years, around 15 percent each in the one-to-two-year and three-to-four-year ranges, and just 3 percent at 30 years or more.

More CME Salary Survey Results:
Employer Information: Which types of organizations were laying off CME staff in 2011, and why? Plus per-organization-type budget and activity data.
Salary and Compensation: Average CME provider salary, organizational breakdowns, bonus and raise data, and future compensation trendlines.

However, a lack of organizational longevity didn’t mean respondents haven’t been in CME for a while. More than half have been in the industry for five to 15 years, and almost a third said they’ve been involved in CME for 15 to 30 years. It might be time to start recruiting the next generation more heavily, given that only 12 percent said they had only been in the business for less than five years, and no one who answered the survey was less than 24 years old. Only 14 percent were 25 to 34, while 35 percent were 35 to 44, 18 percent were 45 to 54, and 31 percent were 55 to 64, with that 3 percent of seasoned veterans in the over-65 category.

And it would appear that CME is a very female-dominated field, at least as far as our survey respondents go—a full 82 percent were women. They also are a well-educated bunch: 31 percent had a master’s degree, 32 percent had bachelor’s degrees, and more than 10 percent held an MD, PhD, or other advanced degree. And what an interesting array of disciplines they studied! On the bachelor’s level, they ranged from art history, business, and hospital management, to humanities, communications, recreation and park administration, and radio and TV. Those with master’s degrees tended to have honed in more on medicine, studying disciplines that include education, allied health, chemistry/pharmacy, public health, healthcare management, public administration, and social work. On the PhD level, studies included behavioral science, chemistry, education, immunology, physiology, and sociology.

Related Charts:
PDF charts of Demographics, Salary Changes 2010-2011, Average Annual Salaries, CME Department Activities and Budgets, and more

Twenty-two percent hold the Certified CME Professional designation, 18 percent hold a Certified Meeting Professional designation, and many also held specialty medical board certifications. Those who reported holding professional designations were more often employed in hospitals/healthcare delivery systems and publishing/medical education companies than in other types of employers.

Let’s Talk Money

Most CME providers appear to be making comfortably middle-class salaries, with 32 percent reporting annual salaries in the $50,000 to $74,999 range, and 22 percent in the $75,000 to $99,999 range. Twenty percent make less than $50,000 per year, and, on the other end of the spectrum, just 4 percent make $200,000 or more. Ten percent fell into the $100,000 to $124,999 range, 8 percent in the $125,000 to $149,999 range, and less than 1 percent each made $150,000 to $174,999 and $175,000 to $199,999.

More CME Salary Survey Results:
Employer Information: Which types of organizations were laying off CME staff in 2011, and why? Plus per-organization-type budget and activity data. • CME provider demographics: Age, gender, educational background, years in CME, and more

Lower salaries seem most prevalent in medical schools: 30 percent of medical school–employed respondents said they make less than $50,000, compared to 13 percent for publishing/medical education companies, 12 percent for national/international scientific or medical association CME staffers, and 19 percent of those in hospitals/healthcare delivery systems. The highest salaries were reported by those employed by hospitals, national/international medical societies, and publishing/medical education companies.

Those whose job titles fell under the executive category showed the highest mean salary, $118,478. The director/manager of education/CME/training title data showed a mean salary of $84,546, while meeting/conference planners/managers/directors had mean salaries of $60,135. The average salary for those surveyed in total was $79,496.

Related Charts:
PDF charts of Demographics, Salary Changes 2010-2011, Average Annual Salaries, CME Department Activities and Budgets, and more

Happily for CME providers, their salary growth potential seems to match that of their employment outlook in general; i.e., better than can be said for many industries. More than half of the survey respondents said they got a salary increase in 2011, and an equal number expect another raise in 2012. Although just 62 percent of those who work in national/international medical societies got a raise last year, they seem to be the most optimistic about 2012, with 85 percent expecting raises this year, compared to 58 percent of those who work in hospitals/healthcare delivery systems, 42 percent of those in publishing/medical education companies, and just 30 percent of those who work in medical schools. Overall, 40 percent said their salaries remained stable last year, and 47 percent said they didn’t expect a bump in pay in 2012.

Thirty-eight percent of the total respondents even reported receiving a bonus last year, and 40 percent are expecting a little something extra in 2012, too. While they didn’t score the most bonuses—just 39 percent of medical society respondents said they got a bonus in 2011, compared to 42 percent each for hospital staff and publishing/medical education companies, and 20 percent of medical school respondents—they are again the most optimistic that a bonus will be coming their way in 2012. The least optimistic, both about the possibility of a raise or of a bonus, are those who work in medical schools, where 65 percent see no raise in sight, and 95 percent don’t see a bonus in their immediate future.

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