Weekend Poll Results: Admin. Professionals’ Salaries and Bonuses

With thanks to all who participated, here are the results of my latest weekend poll.  Our focus: your salaries, and whether you’re eligible for bonuses.

How to start an interesting conversation? 

Ask people to discuss compensation. We focused on salaries and bonuses in this poll, and my next one (watch for it this Thursday) will touch on other aspects of your compensation packages.


46% of respondents earn in excess of $60K US 

… and roughly 65% of you reported that your annual salaries exceed $50K US. Whether or not you’re among the approximately two thirds of respondents earning such incomes, it’s worth considering a number of factors that are relevant to the discussion. Read on …


Keeping  those salaries in perspective

If you go back to the article in which I launched this latest poll, you’ll remember I’d already noted the challenge in comparing salaries of admin. professionals around the globe. Not only do readers earn salaries in a number of different currencies; you also work in different sectors and positions.

If you’re working as an Administrative Assistant, it could be either frustrating or motivating to compare your salary to that of an Executive Assistant or Personal Assistant. As one reader commented, “I think most of those connected to your surveys are EA level. They would average higher (earnings) & (a) salary versus lower hourly wage.

As well, salaries can also reflect the cost of living in a particular area. Take my own city of Vancouver as an example. Here, the benchmark price of a detached home in July 2017 was $1.6M, while the benchmark price for condos (flats) was $616K. If you worked and lived in Kelowna, less than a five-hour drive away, the prices are dramatically lower. There, the July 2017 median house price was $641K – only slightly higher than that of a Vancouver condo. A Kelowna condo? $295K. As you may suspect, one can often find higher salaries in Vancouver; that helps, because you’ll need to pay much more to put a roof over your head.

Then there are sectors known for higher salaries. The people who command those salaries also typically have corresponding costs of living.


What about bonuses?

Well, 41% of respondents reported that they’re eligible for year-end/Christmas bonuses. Even more – 56% – reported that they’re eligible for performance-based bonuses. A slight majority of you who receive such performance bonuses reported that they’re tied to a company’s performance results; that was closely followed by a connection to the admin. professionals’ performance on the job.

While the majority of people who reported being eligible for bonuses work in the private sector, it turns out some admin. professionals in the public and Not for Profit (NFP) sectors also receive such incentives.

Check the data below for full details.



Note: Information below reflects the percentage of respondents who selected specific responses from multiple choice options.  In instances where more than one person offers similar responses to an open ended question, I typically cluster or paraphrase such responses rather than duplicating all of them.

Which of the following best describes your remuneration?

  • 66% of respondents: Annual salary
  • 33% of respondents: Hourly rate of pay
  • 1% of respondents selected “Other”. These two readers commented as follows.
    • Monthly salary
    • Hourly based on annual, with overtime


Are you eligible to receive a Christmas/year-end bonus?

  • No : 54% of respondents
  • Yes: 41% of respondents
  • 5% of respondents selected “Other”. These people commented as follows.
    • Quarterly bonuses that include a company performance bonus in January
    • Partners give us a generous gift
    • Yes, mid-calendar year
    • Yes, if given; it’s based on the company’s financial status and KPIs achieved
    • I will be this year if one is offered
    • Firm doesn’t give bonuses
    • We get a bonus added to our 401K
    • Sometimes
    • If I rate high enough among my peers
    • Was negotiated by our works council for all employees regardless of performance
    • Don’t know
    • Eligible; however, my company has not done a year-end bonus the last 2 years


Are you eligible to receive a performance-based bonus?

  • 40% of respondents: No
  • 27% of respondents: Yes – and it’s based on the company’s performance/results
  • 23% of respondents: Yes – and it’s tied solely to my performance
  • 6% of respondents: Yes – and it’s tied to the performance of my executive or team
  • 4% of respondents selected “Other”. These people commented as follows.
    • Tied to individual and company performance / both company’s performance and mine /both / Yes & it’s tied to both team & company performance / Yes but it’s a calculation of both company performance and personal objectives / Mine is tied both to my performance and the performance/results of my company (and other variations on these responses)
    • It is tied to my job as a support role and not to my performance at all
    • On very rare and special occasions – (in) 12 years, (it’s) happened once, not large but ver(Note from Shelagh: balance of response did not appear, as there’s limited space for these responses; readers are welcome to click on the “Leave a comment” icon for more space)
    • My boss and I have discussed this, but details haven’t been finalized to implement
    • Performance-based bonuses are only for management and a couple of sales people
    • Based on company performance rather individual


If you are eligible for a bonus, please describe your sector

  • 58% of respondents: Private sector
  • 22% of respondents: Public sector
  • 16% of respondents: Not for Profit (NFP) sector
  •  4% of respondents selected “Other”, and commented as follows.
    • Government state government
    • Financial sector: Banks, investment, insurance
    • n/a


Have you maxed out/attained the highest salary possible in your current role?

  • 59% of respondents: No
  • 33% of respondents: Yes
  •  8% of respondents selected “Other”, and commented as follows.
    • Not sure / uncertain / don’t know / unsure / unknown /don’t know
    • Will max out in the next year / close / possibly
    • There is no set salary structure at my employer. / There is no salary scale
    • At my current company, yes. In the industry, I am hoping no.
    • Only because a new salary review was completed this year. Before that maxed out
    • (No), but not sure it will go too much higher
    • (Yes), based on company guidelines in my grade/class
    •  Salary is currently frozen
    • I was hired last fall at mid-range, which was better than the norm.


Expressed in US dollars, which of the following best describes your salary range?

  •  1% of respondents: $20 – $29K
  •  6.5% of respondents: $30 – $39K
  • 22% of respondents: $40 – $49K
  • 19% of respondents: $50 – $59K
  • 16% of respondents: $60 – $69K
  • 14% of respondents: $70 – $79K
  •  7% of respondents:$80 – $89K
  •  6% of respondents: $90 – $99K
  •  1% of respondents: $100 – $109K
  •  1% of respondents: $110 – $119K
  •  0% of respondents: $120 – $129K
  • 1% of respondents: $130 – $139K
  • 0% of respondents: $140 – 149K
  • .5% of respondents: More than $150K
  • Adjusting for extractions (details below), a net 5% of respondents selected “Other”. Note: I’d originally not included a salary range lower than $40K US per annum. Since nine respondents (3% of all respondents) commented here that their salaries are in the $30 – $40K range, I added that as a new category on day one of this poll. Similarly, I’ve extracted from this group a percentage of readers who reported a salary in excess of $150K annually, and the 1% (three people) who reported salaries ranging from $20 – $29K US annually. Here are the other comments readers offered.
    • Can vary, a littler more or less! Depends on high taxes here in Germany?
    • I’m below average for my field
    • R2 600(South Africa) $2400 US
    • I wish I earned that much – even in dollars!
    • less than $40K US annually
    • $150k + and I want to help other EAs get there (based in SF).


On a scale of 1 (salary is too low/not reasonable for work and skills) to 5 (salary is completely fair), rate your salary. 

  • 19.5% of respondents: 5/5 (salary is completely fair)
  • 23% of respondents: 4/5
  • 30% of respondents: 3/5
  • 11.5 % of respondents: 2/5
  • 15% of respondents: 1/5 (salary is too low/not reasonable for work and skills)
  • Note: 1% of respondents selected “Other”. These two readers commented as follows.
    • Salary is a big issue here in Europe; most staff  are underpaid – workload grows
    • Although the salary is considered good for this area, it should be higher.

6 Comments on “Weekend Poll Results: Admin. Professionals’ Salaries and Bonuses

  1. Fascinating data and information! Thanks for taking the time to put this all in a format that is easy to decipher and see trends.

    Lisa Olsen

    • Thanks, Lisa, and my pleasure. I appreciate readers taking the time to participate; watch for more on compensation in this coming Thursday’s Weekend Poll.

  2. Thank you for asking the questions and sharing the data. And to those who commented under “Other” answers – thank you, too. It’s always interesting, and enlightening, to peek into another’s perspective.

    • Very welcome, Pearl, and agreed. Understanding others’ experiences also helps put ours in perspective.

  3. Appreciate you compiling and analyzing this information for us!

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