Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Delving Into the Latest Salary Figures: The Profession Moves Forward Slowly

A few weeks ago, AFP released its 2018 Compensation and Benefits Report, examining salaries and other job benefits from 2017. I hope you’ve had a chance to download your free copy if you’re an AFP member.  If not, you can purchase it here. It’s a great tool to use in your salary negotiations and looking ahead to where you want to be in the profession in the future.

Overall, we saw a decent year, with salaries increasing, on average, by 11 percent in the U.S. and by 16 percent in Canada. While our survey sample is a random group of members every year, a jump that large signals a general increase for the profession.

Of course, very high salary increases at one end can make the individual gains look stronger than they actually are. With nearly 70 percent of fundraisers in the U.S. (and 75 percent in Canada) only seeing salary increases keeping up with inflation, it’s clear that the strong increases were not across the board.

A better metric to consider is the median salary (that is, the middle figure in all of the salaries), which came in at $67,000. This is an increase from the median of $65,000 that we’ve generally seen in previous surveys.

So again, more evidence of the profession slowly moving forward on salaries.

Other interesting data: The number of years per employer (the turnover rate) increased slightly to 4.3 years. We also found that respondents averaged 4.7 years at their current employers, while 6.2 years is the average for the longest time at any organization.

Now, it’s always good to have stability in the job market for the fundraising profession, and I want to see all those numbers higher. But 4.3 years was the average for the U.S. across all professions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. I’m not seeing a fundraising profession that is markedly different from other industries.

Do we have important concerns? Of course, such as the upcoming leadership gap resulting from Baby Boomers continuing to retire, leaving a void in nonprofit leadership without a clear and consistent pipeline of qualified up-and-comers to take their place. But I think our challenges flow more out of that issue than any job-hopping unique to the profession. This is a critical area that AFP has begun to focus on: helping our members prepare for further advancement within the field.

Finally, the gender salary gap. Again, salaries for male fundraisers averaged $20,000 more than those of their female counterparts. But beyond that, we don’t know a lot more—does the gap emerge at certain times during a typical career? Are there particular factors or characteristics that either exacerbate or alleviate this gap?

Because of the relatively few number of male responses in each survey, digging deeper into the data is difficult. This is another area where AFP is going to do more work.  We are planning to go back and conduct detailed statistical analysis on the data from our last several Compensation and Benefit Reports.  Through this process, we can begin to learn where we need to focus our efforts on closing the gender salary gap.

We plan to have this analysis ready by the end of the year. Until then, I hope you find the Report useful as a guide for looking at your own career and ensuring you are compensated appropriately for the amazing work you do every day. Thank you for all you do and for letting AFP be there by your side!

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