2019 Salary Survey



Salaries and bonuses are up and more people got raises, according to the recently released 2019 North Carolina Economic Development Salary Survey. Ensuring your organization has a competitive pay and benefits structure is critical to recruiting and retaining talented people. With the new survey results and comparisons to national data, you can be confident you have the latest information about the profession.

Creative Economic Development Consulting partnered with the NCEDA Research Committee to administer and publish the survey. It was designed to sync with the International Economic Development Council’s Salary Survey so that comparisons could be made between North Carolina and national data. The data is useful on a personal level to economic developers in their careers and is also vital for economic development managers charged with recruiting and retaining talent in the industry.

The average salary of all North Carolina economic development professionals is $86,223, up from $84,216 in 2017. It is slightly lower than the national average of $90,100. Seventy-one percent of respondents received a raise of their salary during 2018. For those who did receive an increase in their base salary, the average increase was 5%, also up from 2017. We found a wide range of salaries in the survey. The lowest base salary reported was $21,384 and the highest was $175,000.

Below are the averages for several salary categories. The title choices in the survey align with the titles used in the IEDC survey.

Almost half, 48%, were eligible for additional cash compensation (bonuses) in 2018. For those who did receive additional cash compensation, the average bonus was $7,082, up from $5,878 in 2017. Nationally, the average was $12,300. Most raises and bonuses are based on “Personal Performance” and “Organizational Performance.”

The majority (92%) of NC respondents are offered a medical insurance plan, which was higher than the national average, and 94% of NC respondents are offered some type of retirement plan. Most reported being a part of the state retirement system. We asked about ‘paid time off’ as one benefit and found that 97% of respondents are eligible for some paid time off – the average is 3.7 weeks. Top noncash benefits include use of laptop computer, paid cell phone, mileage reimbursement, and professional dues.

In addition to information on salary, compensation and benefits, the survey explores tenure, education, training, and retirement plans as well as demographic information about the respondents. A quick summary is that North Carolina economic development professionals are better trained, slightly younger, less racially and gender diverse than national averages; hold more certifications; and have about the same amount of years of experience.

You may obtain a copy of the 2019 North Carolina Economic Development Salary Survey on the Creative EDC website here or at NCEDA here. The report has more in depth information and comparisons to national data.

Creative EDC initiated this project because we are often asked about trends in compensation, bonuses, employment contracts, and benefits. We decided to partner with NCEDA and make the survey results available at no charge as one of our paying-it-forward projects. To read more about our commitment to give back to the economic development community, see our free resource library under our paying-it-forward page. We encourage you to purchase the national survey from IEDC to compare practices in your organization to national trends. You can find the order form here.