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Salaries rise again at large associations; see what 627 CEOs earned

2021 Salary Report

Median compensation in most recent tax filings was 4.7% higher than last report; experts say executive marketplace remains robust

May 14, 2021

By William Ehart and Walt Williams

The median change in base and bonus compensation for CEOs at large associations was 4.7% in the latest CEO Update Compensation Survey. The robust result was shy of the 5.2% seen in our last report but higher than those in our 2018 and 2019 surveys.

CEO Update researchers analyzed 627 salaries at 592 associations with more than $12 million in revenue for our 2021 survey. (Some groups paid more than one CEO during the fiscal year).

Of course, 2020 changed everything and these figures do not yet reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on association revenues and executive pay.

But compensation expert Charlie Quatt said that based on his experience since mid-2020, the market for executive talent is strong and the compensation environment among the associations that are clients of Quatt Associates—that is, those that can afford his services—has “completely changed” from last spring.