On May 13th, Ben Gurion University released a study titled: “Non-profit social justice-minded organizations no better employers than their for-profit colleagues, BGU researchers find”. (Sorry for the delayed reaction to this; I was working my way through my series on Dan Pallotta’s TED talk 🙂 ) The article was picked up by ejewishphilanthropy.com, and I’m sure other sites as well. You can find the article here:
With all love and respect to BGU, an institution that I regard very highly, I (unfortunately) didn’t really think that this was “news” :). Non-profits have lower salaries, are dominated by women, are mostly located in Israel in central regions (Jerusalem/Tel Aviv) … I think these are known and established facts (although I would like to discuss- in another blog post- the ratio of women to men working in non-profits versus the level of positions of men versus women at NFPs) .
I do think it’s interesting to note that under 40% of employees work more than two years in their organization. That’s a whole discussion on it’s own, which I think I have covered in other blog posts. Besides the low salaries, there is also the “Burn Out” factor (see my earlier post on this for more details). And again, as I have discussed, if non-profits do not have a structure for advancement, then skilled employees may look for new opportunities elsewhere.
It is interesting to see the actual statistics. In 2009, the average monthly non-profit wage in Israel was 4,230 NIS. I’ve heard now that the average monthly salary in Israel is between 8,000- 9,000 NIS. So in 2009 it was most likely around 8,000 NIS. So the average non-profit employee is earning almost 50% less than a for-profit worker.
They also mention the high salaries of non-profit CEOs. They found that the average salary was 17,047 NIS. I don’t doubt that their figures are accurate, but I’m not sure how that could be, because there are many CEOs making 50,000 NIS + (this is public knowledge on www.guidestar.org.il, as NFPs must have financial transparency).
As most of this information does not seem to be new (except for the actual figures), I’m not sure how the non-profit world can use this information to improve itself. Maybe it is time to take a serious look at having a structure for promotion in order to keep employees, and take a VERY serious look as to why non-profit employee compensation is in general much lower than for-profit. As Dan Pallotta said, it causes one to make a choice whether to support one’s family (by working in the for-profit sector) or to help the world (by working in the non-profit sector). I think that as a community of non-profit professionals (especially those of us in Israel), it’s time to start seriously thinking about solutions to these problems. It seems that no one else is going to do it for us.
Does anyone have any ideas?