If you're a meeting professional in the United States with a salary just north of $60,000, consider yourself on target. According to the 2002 Salary Survey conducted by 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 — including those from Canada and the rest of the world — is $59,447.

MPI reported its salary findings regionally: the Western, Midwestern, Southern, and Northeastern United States, Canada, and International. Within those regions, it broke out compensation by title, type of organization, experience, and other criteria. Planners in the Northeastern United States are, on average, the best paid. Not surprisingly, corporate planners tend to earn better salaries than their counterparts in associations, universities, and other institutions. However, those who have risked going it on their own as independent planners are generally reporting the highest salaries.

What Planners Make
Western U.S. $61,924
Midwestern U.S. $55,250
Southern U.S. $57,894
Northeastern U.S. $66,453
Canada $40,102
International $62,028

The e-mail survey was returned by 1,509 meeting planners, 60 percent of whom spend 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.

Another note: While many survey respondents expressed concern about the future of their jobs — 19 percent fear losing their jobs in the next year, and 45 percent have seen their companies 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.