First the Good News:
Workplace learning and performance professionals are well-educated and well-compensated, with most earning more than the United States' average income of $48,000. But men earn more than women at every level of the profession.
The ASTD market research department conducted surveys with more than 7,000 people in 2007, providing a broad view of salaries across nine areas of expertise in the workplace learning and performance field. As the 2006 salary survey also showed, trainers in the pharmaceutical industry and independent consultants have the highest salaries in the profession regardless of the area of expertise in which they practice. Facilitating organizational change and career planning and development were the most lucrative areas of expertise to specialize in, while the most common areas of expertise - delivering training and designing learning - had the lowest salaries.
As in previous years, the 2007 survey shows there is a large salary gap between men and women in the profession. Men make more money at every level and are more likely than women to hold higher-level positions. High salaries in the profession as a whole are typical, with the median income between $70,000 and $90,000. Not surprisingly, those professionals with higher levels of responsibility, advanced degrees, and more years of experience tend to have higher salaries. Additionally, large organizations with large budgets tend to pay better than smaller ones.
ASTD Market Research conducted surveys with more than 7,155 ASTD members who are employed and reported salary data between January 1 and October 23, 2007. All numbers shown in tables are percentages unless otherwise noted. Respondents are relatively evenly spread across the five salary ranges below.
Income by span of control and experience
Experience is also a major factor that has a positive effect on salary. The data shows a salary bump as WLP professionals reach 10 years of experience. The median salary for executives is $120,000, which is slightly above $90,000 for directors (52 percent make more than that amount), and about $80,000 for managers. By contrast, the median salaries for supervisors, team leaders, individual contributors, and university instructors all lie below $70,000.
Role of education
Advanced degrees are common in the training field. Nearly half of the respondents have a postgraduate degree (46 percent) and an additional 12 percent have at least some postgraduate education. Those who have already obtained or are currently pursuing advanced degrees are at a significant salary advantage: These groups have median incomes exceeding $70,000.
Area of expertise and industry
The top paying areas of expertise are managing the learning function, facilitating organizational change, and overseeing career planning and talent management.
Despite the fact that women outnumbered men in the survey by a two to one margin (65 percent to 35 percent), men predominated in groups having high salaries. Men at every level were paid more than their female counterparts with similar levels of responsibility and education, with the salary gap narrowing with each increased level of responsibility and education. In addition to holding higher salaries at a given responsibility or education level, men were also more likely to be found in the executive ranks. About half of executives in the target group were men, but less than a third of individual contributors were men.