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Thread: APA salary survey

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    APA salary survey

    I was reviewed the publically available APA salary survey. The numbers seem on the high side based on my anecdotal experience. The 2010 median salary of $70,000? Perhaps. I wonder if there is a significant reporting or selection bias. Then again, the survey is based on 12,940 respondents, which is a good sample size. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    There could be a geographic bias in where the respondants come from. For example, California is a high cost of living state but it most likely has more planners than any other state. The feds are also more prone to still having a lot of bennies and perks that most other agencies have had to shed so another bias could be that many members could be from another high cost area, DC. Texas on the other hand is has a low cost of living so your local wages reflect that.
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by OfficialPlanner View post
    I was reviewed the publically available APA salary survey. The numbers seem on the high side based on my anecdotal experience. The 2010 median salary of $70,000? Perhaps. I wonder if there is a significant reporting or selection bias. Then again, the survey is based on 12,940 respondents, which is a good sample size. Thoughts?
    It doesn't seem that far off base to me when you consider that the median planner surveyed is 43 years old with 14 years experience.

    Also appears to be driven by the number of responses from states that are considered to have a high cost of living.

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    I have always thought that there might be some bias towards larger cities (since that is where more planners are), but the survey has been quite accurate in my opinion. Some crosstabs are higher, some lower, i think that you have to take the survey with a grain of salt and compare it to your local situation.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    There could be a geographic bias in where the respondants come from. For example, California is a high cost of living state but it most likely has more planners than any other state. The feds are also more prone to still having a lot of bennies and perks that most other agencies have had to shed so another bias could be that many members could be from another high cost area, DC. Texas on the other hand is has a low cost of living so your local wages reflect that.
    Only 4% of respondants were employed by the federal government so that doesn't appear to be skewing the data upward by that much.

    Edit: I do notice that the the median salary for a planning employed for the federal government is higher than the 75th percentile for other levels of government. Wow.

  6. #6
    Also, bear in mind that the median age and experience is 43 years old and 14 years, respectively.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I'm thinking it's the low end numbers that are skewing everything. Surely more than 4% of planners earn under 40k. I'm guessing most entry level planners aren't associated with the APA yet so aren't filling out the survey.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by FocusedOnFreight View post
    Also, bear in mind that the median age and experience is 43 years old and 14 years, respectively.
    The salary by experience table shows the median to be about $45,000 for under 3-years experience. That still seems a little high to me from my experience in Florida.

    Off-topic:
    The state was hiring entry-level planners with master's degrees in the upper 28k

  9. #9
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by FocusedOnFreight View post
    Only 4% of respondants were employed by the federal government so that doesn't appear to be skewing the data upward by that much.

    Edit: I do notice that the the median salary for a planning employed for the federal government is higher than the 75th percentile for other levels of government. Wow.
    I went to check that, but my AICP ran out June 30. I paid the bill (even though APA sent me no reminder! way to go APA!), but I was still locked out. Okay thats not exacly true, they sent me a bill back in January, but there was no way I was going to pay them early!

    The point I was trying to make is that federal employees are well paid. They also are more likely to be members because thier employer is more likely to pay the tab. Regardless of whether they are directly paid by the feds or not, many planners live in the DC area and the DC area pays much better than most of the country, particularly when compared to TX or FL.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I'm thinking it's the low end numbers that are skewing everything. Surely more than 4% of planners earn under 40k. I'm guessing most entry level planners aren't associated with the APA yet so aren't filling out the survey.
    That's probably the reason.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I'm thinking it's the low end numbers that are skewing everything. Surely more than 4% of planners earn under 40k. I'm guessing most entry level planners aren't associated with the APA yet so aren't filling out the survey.
    Who is not a member of APA? Largely those whose employer does not pay for membership and those who do not have the large salaries necessary to justify the luxury of membership. This leaves out many younger planners, rural planners, and others who are poorly paid. The survey results are skewed by a sampling bias.
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    Cyburbian Dharmster's avatar
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    Detroit Planner sorry to burst your bubble but feds can't get AICP or any professional certification or membership paid for by their agency UNLESS it is a requirement of their job to hold such a certification. Even then getting reimbursed is another issue. The same goes for continuing educaiton to maintain a certificaton or license. It cannot be paid for unless it is a requirement of the job. Now, one can attend a conference or take a class but it has to help you improve your performance or do additional things in your existing job not train you to get a better job unless you are in a job classification in which the federal government has difficulty recruiting and retention and community planner is not one of those occupations.

    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    IThe point I was trying to make is that federal employees are well paid. They also are more likely to be members because thier employer is more likely to pay the tab. Regardless of whether they are directly paid by the feds or not, many planners live in the DC area and the DC area pays much better than most of the country, particularly when compared to TX or FL.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    I am going to use it to show underpaid I am in the market (but after I have been here a year...)

  14. #14
    Another interesting part of the survey is the breakdown between AICP and non-AICP salaries, with the AICP salaries being much higher. The chart implies that getting the AICP designation could greatly increase ones salary. However, the report goes on to identify experience as the variable most correlated with salary. AICP's correlation with salary is likely a spurious relationship since those with years of experience are likely to have a higher salary, in addition to the AICP certification, but not because of it.

    IMHO ... and to be taken with a grain of salt ... a word of caution to the new planners out there. If AICP is valued by your employer, then they should pay the dues as well as CM. If not, you'll get by just fine with hard work and experience.

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    Cyburbian MD Planner's avatar
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    2014 Salary Survey

    So in reviewing this latest survey, and finding out once again that I'm underpaid I see the following:

    The salary survey is for the use of individual APA members only. It is not to be distributed by any member either in print or electronically.


    So in what way, other than to see where you fit into the matrix of compensation, is this helpful? With that statement you apparently can't use the survey to help justify a different salary when you're negotiating a job offer or show your HR Department or consultant when a salary study is being performed. What's the benefit to members? Maybe I just don't get it.
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    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by MD Planner View post
    So in reviewing this latest survey, and finding out once again that I'm underpaid I see the following:

    The salary survey is for the use of individual APA members only. It is not to be distributed by any member either in print or electronically.


    So in what way, other than to see where you fit into the matrix of compensation, is this helpful? With that statement you apparently can't use the survey to help justify a different salary when you're negotiating a job offer or show your HR Department or consultant when a salary study is being performed. What's the benefit to members? Maybe I just don't get it.
    Fairly confident this mean don't print the thing out and distribute it. You most certainly can jot down the info, cite it, and use it as a part of a letter to request additional pay.
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    Cyburbian Kingmak's avatar
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    Nice to know I'm a 3 percenter...

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    Above median - age, yrs of experience, and years in current position
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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    Nice to know I'm still an average planner. I think the only reason anything falls below average is that I work for a rural county so my pay is a little low.
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  21. #21
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Below average in everything.. whatever

    Again, it is based on who has responded and who hasn't. Salary is just one part of the equation. I know I have a lower salary compared to other Cities / County employees in my area, but my health benefits are very very generous (as I am finding out as I am weighing a job offer), my pension is also very generous, and I have a good skeleton crew I am working with an environment where I really just come and go as I please with little notice. I would rather be in this position then making 90K and working in a very hairy, borderline physco department, but 90K sounds awfully tempting.
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  22. #22
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Freaky, it was almost exactly spot on. Maybe I am the only one who responded to the survey and it is spitting my number back at me.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I'm no longer a member of the APA. I guess I'll never know how I compare.
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  24. #24
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    Pretty much the median, for once.
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  25. #25
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I'm above median, but still not paid enough for what I do.

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