Stiffed on payday

Mar 9, 2009 by

Note: This entry is cross-posted from the Nonprofit Congress blog, where I blog for work.

Flickr photo by The Rocketeer

Last week’s post on salary surveys got me thinking and researching for more information. I got a hold of some coverage of Guidestar‘s 2008 Nonprofit Compensation Report. The data was solid and the sourcing clear, but I found other reasons to be disappointed. Namely this: “The report found that compensation of women continues to lag behind that of men. At the biggest organizations, women CEO’s earned 34.8 percent less than their male counterparts.*” Ugh.

Is this what I have to look forward to as an emerging female leader in the sector?

Here are a couple of other disturbing facts:

  • “Women held 55 percent of the CEO positions at organizations with budgets of $1-million or less, but only 36 percent at organizations with budgets greater than $1-million.”
  • “…large organizations or charities associated with specialized knowledge reported the highest compensation, while those dealing with human services, religion, and nutrition ranked among the lowest paying.”

So what does this mean? It seems to me that it points to lingering sexism and a ‘glass ceiling’ mentality in the sector. It’s a reflection on the lack of diversity of all types on boards and among the leadership that makes decisions on compensation levels. Its also indicative of the lack of relative importance of ‘women’s roles’ in the sector and the perception that human service organizations require less education or work than “specialized knowledge” groups (because apparently, helping people directly doesn’t require specialized knowledge). And what to make of the lack of female CEOs at the largest nonprofits? Are women simply not applying for these jobs or are they not hired due to a perception that they can’t handle the big budgets?

As newer generations of women enter the top leadership roles of nonprofits nationwide, I hope they’ll take their knowledge and savvy right to the bank by demanding to be compensated fairly and equally to their male counterparts.

*The quotes and information come from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, but Icouldn’t find a free version of the article online. Similarly, the actual Guidestar report was not available online (for free).

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