Does Going to Meetings Pay?

By: Dr. Al  Lee

PayScale has a handy tool: Meeting Miser. The idea is that you enter the job titles of people in a meeting, and the tool uses PayScale salary data to estimate how much a meeting costs per minute. It is scary how expensive in employees' wages even a small meeting can become.

The Meeting Miser got me thinking about meetings, and when I think about meetings, I always recall the memorable scene from the film Glengarry Glen Ross when Alec Baldwin tells a group of high-pressure real estate agents that first prize for sales is a Cadillac, second prize is a set of steak knives, and third prize is "you're fired." What is drama in the movies is revisited on TV as farce: the same scene was reprised on the NBC comedy Chuck.

Fortunately, most business meetings are not so pressure-filled. Meetings are a central part of corporate culture, from weekly status meetings to "all-hands" company-wide extravaganzas. With the growth of meetings, job opportunities for meeting planners and meeting facilitators are expanding rapidly as well. PayScale has data on the average salaries for meeting / convention planners.

What about workers who attend meetings? Do jobs that require attendance at company meetings pay more or less than those that don't? The answers may surprise you...

How does your salary compare to meeting planners' salaries?  Find out with PayScale's full salary survey.

Account Executive Salary

Let's start with people who have to attend meetings during the course of their work. The typical account executive's day is going to include plenty of meetings within the company and with clients. How well does attending all these meetings actually pay? If we take a look at the PayScale Research Center, the average account executive base salary ranges from $35,000 to $65,000 or more.

Of course, commission is king for sales people. Account executives' base salaries are augmented by the commissions they earn, which can raise take home pay even higher.

Bookkeeper Salaries

What about the bookkeeper who crunches numbers for the same company? He or she usually works alone, or even at home. What is the salary for a bookkeeper? Average bookkeepers salaries range from $14 to $19 per hour, depending on the city. At $19.00 an hour, clock in 40 hours a week x 52 weeks and the salary would be just shy of $40,000 per year.

Are employees who go to meetings, like account executives, are paid more? Or is it the reverse: bookkeepers are happy to be paid less than account executives, just to avoid going to meetings.

News Anchor Salaries

If you decide to go into broadcast journalism, you'll find yourself in editorial meetings every day.  Stories are constantly coming in, and the line-up for a newscast changes right up until you go on the air (and even during). According to the PayScale Research Center, news anchor salaries, by location, range from $106,000 (New York and San Diego) to $53,100 (Chicago). Not bad for daily meetings and nail-biting.

Salary for Archaeologist

As a news anchor you may be reporting on discoveries by archaeologists. These folks often work alone in the ruins of a desolate area - unless it's Indiana Jones fighting the Nazis. Archaeologist salaries usually differ by employer. If you work for a college or university, the average salary is $45,300, and a Ph.D. is often required. At a company, pay is typically $43,700, while the government pays a salary of $41,600. Looks like archaeologist loses out to news anchor.

Who is the hot employer of archeologists? Construction companies. When they hit artifacts while digging out an underground garage, archaeologists are called in to investigate, remove interesting artifacts, and document what was found for posterity.

Hum, I bet these corporate archaeologists have to sit through more meetings. Why isn't their pay higher?

High School Teacher Salaries and More

High school teachers have to attend a variety of meetings, like staff meetings and parent-teacher meetings. According to the PayScale Research Center, the base salary for high school teachers who are just starting out is $35,000, while a career high school teacher salary (20 years or more) averages out nationally to $59,200.

More professions that require meetings: project manager salary: $50,000 to $96,000 and real estate agent salary: $38,500 to $60,800.

On the flip-side, more jobs that don't require many meetings: park ranger salaries: $16 hourly rate, registered nurse salaries: $21 to $30 hourly rate, and average salary of a truck drivers: $13 to $21 hourly rate.

With this unscientific selection of jobs, it looks like employees who attend meetings usually earn more than those who don't. Perhaps the adage should be changed: "those who can't do, sit in meetings and are paid more."

The next time you are sitting in a meeting, instead of doodling, fire up the PayScale Meeting Miser, and see how much the meeting is costing your company. For extra fun, try to figure out what the meeting is worth to your company as well.

Are you paid enough to sit through meetings? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee


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