Associations Offering Better Pay, Benefits

By Hyman, Julie | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

Associations Offering Better Pay, Benefits


Hyman, Julie, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Associations are offering better pay and benefits to employees to compete for workers in a tight labor market.

That's according to the 11th edition of the American Society of Association Executive's Association Executive Compensation and Benefits Study, compiled by the group last fall and released last week.

"For certain positions, you are competing with the private sector, the public sector to find qualified people to do the work of the association," said Eve Shepard, director of research and information services for ASAE.

"The association industry is not insulated from the rest of the market . . . People go where they find the best opportunity," said Michael R. Losey, president and chief executive officer of the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria.

The society's study found that total compensation had increased for most of the positions surveyed, with an average increase of 13.8 percent. More than 5,000 executives and nearly 1,000 associations were questioned for the study.

CEOs earn $117,000 in median income, the survey found, and 63 percent of CEOs have severance agreements in their contracts.

Of the organizations surveyed, 88 percent offer a retirement plan for full-time staff, and 72 percent of groups that offer medical insurance pay for the total cost of premiums.

Ms. Shepard said that ASAE asked different questions this year to get an idea of performance-based compensation that associations may be offering.

"For the first time in this study we have separated out the base-salary information from the total-compensation figures that we've generally reported in the past," she said.

The survey asked participants for their base salary, bonus, commission or other forms of cash and retirement plans to arrive at a total-compensation figure.

Mr. Losey believes that performance-based compensation is a key way to retain employees, and said the trend is beginning to catch on in the association industry.

At his organization, targets are set periodically, whether in increasing revenues or number of members. If staffers meet those targets, they receive a certain amount in bonus dollars. As they exceed them, their bonuses rise exponentially.

"Pay is generally only a source of dissatisfaction if it's not maintained right," Mr. …

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