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New survey: Incubator salaries down to 2005 levels; women still lag behind

by Dennis E. Powell

April/May 2014

Following a steady upward trend that continued through 2009, the salaries of business incubator managers had fallen in 2013 to levels last seen in 2005, according to a new NBIA survey of compensation paid to full-time incubator CEOs.

The survey, similar to ones conducted by NBIA or its partners every few years for nearly a quarter century, was compiled by Linda Knopp, former NBIA director of policy analysis and research, who left the organization last year but who contracted to complete the project. The complete 2013 report will be available from the NBIA Bookstore this summer.

“Managers at most incubator types and most demographic groups reported lower average salaries in 2013 than they did in 2009, when NBIA last conducted its compensation survey,” writes Knopp. “While some of the decrease in salary levels is likely related to the current economic climate, it’s also possible that the 2013 data more accurately reflects industry compensation levels than did the 2009 data, when NBIA received fewer responses to the compensation survey.” The 2013 study is derived from 133 usable responses, while the 2009 survey was based on only 58. Since larger sample sizes have greater capacity to capture a population’s variation, the 2013 data may better represent the variation in the incubation industry population.

But even if the 2009 findings are less representative of the entire industry, the salaries of full-time incubator managers have increased little if any since the previous survey in 2005, which was also conducted by Knopp. The 2005 survey was based on 165 usable responses.

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Keywords: compensation -- incubator staff, evaluation -- incubator performance, idea generation and creativity, regulatory compliance -- incubator, research -- incubation

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