Why the not-for-profit sector is struggling with turnover

Charities are increasingly desperate to hold on to their top tier talent

Why the not-for-profit sector is struggling with turnover

The global not-for-profit sector can anticipate plenty of staff movement, with nearly one in five workers saying they are likely to leave their present employment this year. A new survey from Pro Bono Australia, a Melbourne-based organisation committed to promoting socially-minded organisations and individuals, has found that 18 per cent were anticipating a imminent move. This equates to more than 200,000 people, based on an estimated 1.3 million workers in the sector, it says.

Eighteen per cent of participants said they considered leaving their organisations to work elsewhere always or often, compared to 46% who said they rarely or never contemplated move. A third of respondents admitted they sometimes thought about quitting.

Encouragingly, the majority of respondents – 67%- believed their organisation developed them to do their job and 71% of respondents said they were likely to recommend their organisation to a friend seeking employment.

More than 300 organisations were questioned for The Pro Bono Australia Salary Survey, which helps not-for-profit organisations map out trends by offering in-depth analysis of the market. The report, which this year found that median salaries were up, allows individuals and organisations to effectively benchmark their remuneration practices. It enables employers to offer appropriate pay to new staff, and manage the retention and satisfaction of existing ones.

Founder and CEO, Karen Mahlab AM, explained that the organisation’s ability to collect this data had been built over 20 years, by establishing a long and trusted relationship with service users.

She said: “Pro Bono Australia’s Salary Survey is the largest social sector salary survey in Australia, and as a result delivers a robust evidence base which can be trusted by boards, CEOs and managers to guide them when reviewing vital remuneration decisions.”

For the first time, the survey also gathered information on non-executive directors and their work across the sector. A key finding is that although boards most commonly met between six and eight times a year, only a small percentage – 12% - of organisations provided board members with fees. Board members were more likely to receive free car parking (13%) or access to events (31%) in recognition of their role. More than a third of organisations - 35 per cent - said they did not provide any fees or benefits to board members. More than half of respondents said they were on more than one board.

This year Pro Bono Australia received its highest ever number of responses, with the report based on 2,355 case studies, covering 40 roles. The data builds on last year’s finding that the sector’s salaries have remained steady despite the pandemic.

This year’s report also shows that it pays to be a CEO in South Australia, with the state accounting for the highest average total remuneration excluding incentives for the role. But this is not the case across all positions. In fact, this year’s survey found the base salary for marketing / fundraising /communications managers was lowest in South Australia, and highest in Western Australia. The report again reinforces that how much you get paid is also dependent on the sector you work in, with CEOs earning the most working in aged or community care services and the least working in the mental health sector.

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