It seems like forever and a day that the nonprofit sector has operated under the assumption that they cannot compete with the pay and benefits of their for-profit cousins. This assumption was often reality when it came strictly to pay. Therefore, nonprofits devised a strategy to attract talent with unique benefits. Flexible schedules, causal dress, bring the dog to work day, and other novel ideas were invented to create workplace cultures that might attract talent for less than an average wage. These talent management techniques were eventually ingrained into our culture. It was all expected, tolerated and approved.
Do these characteristics about nonprofits surrounding their pay and benefits still exist?
The answer is most likely, not exactly.
Quartz has recently reminded us that in 2016 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data that showed nonprofits are competitive with for-profits in relation to total compensation. A BLS study found that, in the aggregate, workers at nonprofits earn a pay premium compared to their for-profit counterparts. After you do all the math, the total compensation advantage for nonprofits equates to $7.86 per hour – or $16,348.80 annually.
This number is, of course, an average. The realities on the ground remain very competitive. More often than not, a for-profit will pay more for a single position than a nonprofit. But perhaps nonprofits need to double check their internal attitudes and strategies when it comes to recruitment. Having an attitude that an organization’s total compensation is competitive for certain positions in certain localities could help score more candidates.
Plus, don’t forget the value of a healthy workplace culture.
Burnout was just made an official medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization. Today’s workers, with the help of technology, are being asked to do more than in decades past. Therefore, creating a workplace culture that allows employees to create the personal-life to work-life balance they desire can be very attractive.
Michelle Cheng summed it up well in her Quartz article, “Studies show that employees who derive meaning from work report higher satisfaction and are more likely to stay with the company longer. In short, companies should no longer be striving to either be purpose-driven or profit-driven—but finding a case for both.”
When your job has meaning it ceases to be work and becomes a vocation. That purpose-driven meaning is not only found in the organization’s mission, but also in how an employer tries to seamlessly make themselves part of an employee’s life. Nonprofit’s may have more experience doing this than for-profits and they should leverage that advantage.