Have you heard the saying "no two people pay the same price for an airline ticket"? You could also say something similar about meeting and event planners: "no two planners are paid the same salary," even though their job descriptions and duties might be exactly the same. Yet salary is not a topic people talk about freely--even though they probably should. So, as you enter the meetings and events planning industry, it's important to be aware of what can you expect when it comes to salary. There are a few event planner salary factors to consider. Really, it comes down to the same factors as other jobs: location, industry, and company size.
Event Planner Salary is Determined by Four Main Factors
Geography has a great deal to do with how much you get paid. When you work in a city, everything is more expensive than in a rural area, which means that salaries may be higher to accommodate for the cost of living. Often, large cities also have a greater employee base to pull from, so companies will offer more in order to be competitive against other offers. Typically, that's why planners in large cities often get paid a little more.
Company Information (Industry and Company Size)
How big is the company you're applying to? Larger companies or corporations have higher salaries than small, twenty person companies. The larger a company, the more they have to work with. This isn't always the case but is a good rule of thumb. Additionally, the industry can impact salary. Companies operating for profit can offer more than, say, a job in public education.
Years of Experience
This is obvious, but the more years of experience you have, the more money you'll be offered. Entry-level earns much less than experienced planners. If you're new, you can get your foot in the door with a focus on learning and growth. No doubt, you'll gain the experience you need quickly.
Level of Education
Overall, degrees often equate to a higher salary in other industries, but that isn't always the case for event planners. Generally, experience is valued over degrees as there are limited programs for event planners. Onsite experience is more valuable. That being said, earning an industry-recognized certification can help push you up the pay ladder. Becoming a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) can help you earn more, as it's a widely recognized certification. Do a little research and ask others in the industry what certifications they've found to be most effective.
Industries to Look at - By the Numbers
For an even closer look at salary, we've broken salary based on industry and
Top Industries for Event Planner Employment
|INDUSTRY||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Orgs||$58,880|
|Other Support Services||$56,490|
|Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools||$51,050|
|Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events||$46,560|
Top Paying Industries for Event Planners
|INDUSTRY||ANNUAL MEAN WAGE|
|Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing||$82,770|
|Semiconductor and Other Electronic Component Manufacturing||$79,530|
|Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage||$75,840|
|Activities Related to Credit Intermediation||$73,990|
|Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing||$72,740|
As you move through your career, your salary will experience ups and downs. The most important thing to remember is that even though your salary will fluctuate, never be afraid to negotiate. Also, don't be afraid to discuss salary questions with a mentor in the industry! Salary and money, in general, tend to be taboo topics, but they shouldn't be. The only way to be paid fairly and understand how the industry pays is to find out from mentors and friends in the industry.
Check out Accelerating Your Event Planning Career for more information.