Volume 78 | Issue 4
July 2010

2009–10 ACUI Salary Survey

The annual ACUI Salary Survey is one of the best utilized member services. It is used to help increase, compare, and provide a backdrop for college union and student activities salaries across the United States and around the globe.

For the 2009–10 survey, a total of 576 survey requests were delivered via e-mail; 221 surveys were completed, for a response rate of 38.4 percent. The survey defines and collects data on 27 positions in college unions and campus activities; the total number of positions represented in this sample is 1,500 compared to 1,245 last year. Last year’s data were not released because too few institutions responded.

 According to survey respondents, the average salaries for college union and campus activities professionals increased 1.1 percent over the previous year. The salary increase over the previous year for the last several years was: 3.9 percent in 2007–08, 3.4 percent in 2006–07, 3.2 percent in 2005–06, 3.7 percent in 2004–05, 2.0 percent in 2003–04 (the smallest increase in a decade), 3.0 percent in 2002–03, 3.7 in 2000–01, 3.3 percent in 1999–2000, 4 percent in 1998–99, and 3.8 percent in 1997–98 (the survey was not conducted in 2001–02). Average salary increases for men and women were reported as 1.0 percent and 1.3 percent respectively.

The average salary for all positions submitted at all levels was $51,989 with the overall average for men and women reported at $56,584 and $47,816 respectively. Women had higher average salaries in 10 of the 28 positions: art/gallery director, assistant director (operations), bookstore director, building/operations manager, craftshop manager, day care manager, indoor recreation manager, information/ticket manager, performing arts manager, service learning manager. Men averaged 15.6 years of experience, while women averaged 12.2.

Traditionally underrepresented populations constituted 17.9 percent of the overall positions. Positions filled by African Americans were reported as 9.4 percent, 4.1 percent by Hispanic/Latino/Mexican/Chicano, 1.8 percent by Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 0.4 percent by Native Americans. The overall average salary for positions held by underrepresented populations was $49,528 compared to $52,801 for Caucasian-identified individuals, representing a difference of 6.2 percent. This is the same difference as last year and down from a difference of 3.8 percent in 2007–08, 3.8 percent, in 2006–07, 6.2 percent in 2005–06, and 8.2 percent in 2004–05.

The highest average salary was in the university administrative/director of union and/or campus activities category ($93,937). The next highest average salaries were reported as union director ($81,255), dining service director ($75,004), bookstore director ($74,957), and director of union and campus activities ($70,188). The lowest average salary was reported in information/ticket manager category ($35,825).

Table 1 presents overall salary information for all reported college union and campus activities positions including gender breakdowns. Table 2 provides data by position and region. And Table 5 arrays the data by position title and full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment.

More than 50 percent of all professionals have a master’s degree or higher. Nearly 88 percent of the director level professionals have a master’s degree or higher, and 13 percent have a doctoral or professional degree. More than 90 percent of the associate directors in the programming area have a master’s degree or higher compared to 68 percent for their counterparts in the operations area.

ACUI regions reporting the highest average salaries in order were Regions 1, 15, and 9; the lowest average salary was reported in Region 5. Nearly three-quarters of respondents benchmark their salaries against other institutions in their region, and less than 20 percent compare institutions in their athletic conference (see Table 3).

As Table 4 shows, 28 percent of the respondents do equity adjustments every year, while 40 percent do them as needed, and 17 percent never make the non-merit/annual increase adjustments.

Download the ACUI Salary Survey here.