Salaries and Education for Grounds Professionals Increase

The Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) announces the completion of its salary survey for grounds personnel. The study, based on 2002 historical data, suggests the continued elevation of the grounds management profession as evidenced by increased reported salaries even as the American economy hits some rough times. Members of the Society have been sent a detailed statistical compilation report.

The two-page report provides PGMS members with such data as the high, low and average dollar (salary) per hour paid to superintendents/managers, supervisors/chiefs, foremen, equipment operators, mechanics and permanent, temporary and part-time laborers.

In each of these categories, the report provides the average dollar level at which new hires are being made as well as the number of reports received and the range reported for the “per hour” figures. It also gives information relative to the number in each category receiving a bonus, life insurance, health insurance and/or a retirement plan.

For instance, the PGMS Salary Survey reports the average salary for superintendents/managers in 2002 was $27.87 with reported salaries ranging between $22.76 and $32.35. The average hire rate was $21.95.

These figures all represented increases from the data reported in 2001, in which the average salary reported for superintendents/managers was $21.34 and the average hire rate was $17.21.

In addition to providing the average salary figures, the PGMS report also breaks down its management respondents by position title, age, years in the profession, years in present position, highest education level, education background, type of grounds managed, total acres managed, annual base salary and benefit programs.

The report reflects, for instance, that the average management respondent had 21.69 years in the profession and has been in his or her present position for 11.2 years. Over 78 percent of the respondents had a horticulture or agriculture education background and an increasing number (16.4 percent) reported post-graduate education. They oversee an average staff of 15.06.

The average base salary for the survey respondent was $58,145 with 70 of 81 respondents indicating that they receive some form of a life insurance benefit and 77 of 81 stating they receive employer-provided health insurance.

Annual leave indicated the average vacation was 17.73 days (range 10-28 days), holidays were averaged at 9.83 (4-19 range), and sick days averaged 10.08 (3-21 range).

Copies of the PGMS report are available to professionals outside of the PGMS membership. The cost is only $15. A complimentary copy is provided to new members. For further information, contact PGMS at

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