It’s good to work in sponsorship, according to IEG Sponsorship Report’s 17th annual salary survey.

The industry’s compensation picture was much brighter in 2012 than in 2011. In addition pay increases far outpaced the U.S. national average.

Most sponsorship professionals—59 percent—received a raise in 2012. That compares to just 52 percent who saw their pay increase in 2011, the second-lowest percentage in the survey’s history.

And the boost was a healthy one. The average raise was 5.9 percent, up significantly from the sponsorship industry’s 4.6 percent average increase in 2011.

The nearly six percent increase is more than double what employees in the overall U.S. workforce earned this year. Non-exempt salaried workers—those for whom overtime pay is not required—saw an average raise of only 2.8 percent in 2012, according to the annual study released in August by human resource consulting firm Aon Hewitt (Chart 2).

In addition to raises, more sponsorship pros received a bonus in 2012 compared to 2011. While only 35 percent earned a bonus last year, 46 percent got one this year.

Nonprofit, For-profit, Sponsor and Agency Breakdown
As in past years, there was discrepancy across industry sectors when it comes to pay increases, with for-profit property and agency personnel less likely to receive salary raises. That is based largely on the fact that those two sectors typically use variable compensation and performance-based award programs, including commissions, to a much greater extent than corporations and nonprofits.

Two-thirds of survey respondents employed by sponsors received a raise in 2012, along with 65 percent of those working for nonprofit properties. Only 53 percent of those working for for-profit rightsholders and 42 percent of agency employees earned a salary boost.

The percentage of sponsor employees earning a bonus rose from 66 percent in 2011 to 72 percent in 2012. The corresponding numbers for for-profit properties were 46 percent to 58 percent; for agencies, 33 percent to 46 percent; and for nonprofits, 24 percent to 34 percent.

For-profit property employees earned the highest average total annual compensation in 2012. Including salary, bonus and commission, total compensation for personnel in the sector was $149,160, followed by agency employees at $133,399, sponsors at $123,996 and non-profit property workers at $85,703. (For a breakdown by job title, see Chart 1.)

The agency sector was the only segment to see average compensation shrink in 2012, down $4,407 from 2011 when its $137,806 was the highest average of all four sectors. The primary factor was a decrease in average bonus and commission pay for agency employees from $38,863 in 2011 to $26,994 in 2012. Conversely, average bonus and commission pay for for-profit property personnel rose from $38,938 to $48,301 in the last year.

Changes To Compensation Tiers Based On Organization Size
Although compensation remains correlated to the size of the employer—with larger concerns paying more than smaller ones—a shift occurred in 2012 in terms of where significant increases occur.

For years, the data could be divided into three tiers. Organizations at the $1 million level and below; organizations between $1 million and $5 million; and organizations larger than $5 million, with those figures applying to sponsorship revenue in the case of properties, sponsorship budgets for sponsors and sponsorship billings for agencies.

A look at this year’s total compensation by organization size (see Charts 5 and 6) reveals the three tiers are now: below $500,000; between $500,000 and $2.5 million; and larger than $2.5 million. (For more data related to organization size, see Chart 7.)

Survey results derive from responses from 313 industry practitioners—50 percent working for nonprofit properties, 20 percent working at for-profit properties, 17 percent for agencies, and 13 percent for sponsors.