Female Meeting Planners Earn 27% Less Than Their Male Counterparts

A recently released report from Meeting Professionals International reveals the pay gap between men and women in the meetings industry.

Earlier this week I returned to my desk after a meeting when I noticed my inbox had a handful of emails with a subject line that got my attention: “Disconcerting Insight From FOLIO Salary Survey.”

Even more disheartening: Female meeting suppliers in the United States earn $44,430 less than male suppliers.

I opened the first of the email string and read that FOLIO, the “magazine for magazine management,” released its 2012 Editorial Salary Survey. Among the findings: Female editors-in chief make $15,000 less than their male counterparts. The findings also were picked up here and here.

As a woman who’s worked in the publishing industry for more than nine years now (a little more than seven in the association publishing industry) and as one who aspires to someday be an editor-in-chief, I have to say I was upset but not exactly surprised. Survey after survey shows that women are consistently paid less than their male counterparts. The Census Bureau’s data shows that in 2010 women’s earnings were 81 percent of men’s. (Yes, much better than the 62 percent reported in 1979, but still not enough.)

This got me thinking: How do meetings-industry salaries compare across gender, especially given that the industry is dominated by women? Sure enough, I found some newly released research from Meeting Professionals International. Its Business Barometer—Annual  surveyed 1,277 members in July on current trends and future predictions. As expected, its salary findings mimic previous data. In the United States, the findings show that female meeting planners earn a little more than 27 percent less than their male counterparts ($83,660, compared to $106,320). In Canada, male meeting planners earn $17,730 more than female planners, while in Europe, female planners earn $36,000 (52 percent) less than their male colleagues.

Even more disheartening: Female meeting suppliers in the United States earn $44,430 less than male suppliers. That’s a staggering 55 percent less when you compare the average male salary of $125,000 to the $80,570 the average woman takes home.

While MPI’s report looks at meeting planners and suppliers across all sectors and not just the association one, chances are high, unfortunately, that the same discrepancy exists in our industry. I’m hopeful that one day there will be no need for a blog post like this. But keeping in mind the Census Bureau’s stats cited earlier (a 19 percent growth in 31 years), this may not happen until 2041. So what can we do now to make sure it’s not another 29 years away?

(TMG archive photo)

Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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