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Washington leads for the sixth year in nonprofit median salary, while science and technology associations have the highest median salary nationally, according to the recently released Guidestar 2011 Nonprofit Compensation Report.
The highest nonprofit median salary, $147,622, was found in the DC-MD-VA area, which has the highest concentration of association headquarters in the country. This is followed by New York-New Jersey, $142,595; Boston, $123,281; Chicago, $121,163; and Los Angeles-Long Beach (CA), $116,754.
When adjusted based on the DC cost of living scale, however, the median salary in Boston is the highest, $173,703 on a DC scale, followed by the Detroit area, whose salaries adjust to equal $171,019. On this scale, Washingtonians command only the sixth-highest median salary.
The report finds that the during the recent recession, median increases in the salaries of incumbent CEOs were cut in half, from 4% or higher in 2008 to 2% or lower in 2009. By industry, science and technology association employees commanded the highest salaries, with a national median salary of $156,493. Healthcare and medical research associations rounded out the top three, with $151,199 and $133,523 median salaries respectively, making STEM and specialized knowledge fields the top-paid areas across associations. At the bottom were interest-oriented organizations: religion, $65,961; food/agriculture/nutrition, $68,420; and animal-related organizations, $71,200.
These findings are consistent with the findings of the TRENDS 2011 Compensation Report, which found salaries in the DC area to be significantly higher than any other region in the country. The TRENDS Compensation Report also found that salary increases, except when considering cost of living as a contributing factor, largely plummeted in 2010, and though on the rebound in 2011, have yet to reach numbers reported across all positions in 2009.