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Newly released 2017 Canadian Nonprofit Sector Salary & Benefits Report reveals current compensation trends

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Compensation at nonprofits across the country continues to rise slowly for some nonprofit professionals, according to the new 2017 Canadian Nonprofit Sector Salary & Benefits Report. To better understand nonprofit compensation, we surveyed more than 1,000 participants who represented more than 14,000 individual employees from nonprofits across Canada. The results are gathered in our 2017 salary and benefits report, now available for online purchase.

The findings are helpful for both sides of the hiring equation: Hiring managers can compare their compensation offerings with other organizations of similar size, sector and location, while individuals can research salary and benefit packages by similar criteria to confidently discuss salary expectations with current and potential employers.

Here are some highlights from the 2017 edition:


Cash compensation continues to grow slowly for many

Average cash compensation increased in the nonprofit sector, except for front-line and support staff, between 2013 and 2016. When increases were received, the majority were less than 3%. The most significant increase was among management/supervisory staff at a cumulative 15% since 2013. This growth will need to be monitored to determine if it is a trend or a temporary spike.

Organizational focus impacts average compensation

At all levels except for support staff, health related organizations are among the leaders in cash compensation. Education organizations are also near the top for Chief Executives and senior executives. The highest average compensation for front-line and support staff is provided by arts and culture organizations. Average cash compensation for Chief Executives is highest in organizations whose primary role is public education and awareness, while for all other staffing levels, arts & cultural programming organizations offer the highest average compensation.

Larger communities generally equal larger salaries

Average compensation at all levels generally increases with the size of the community in which employees are located. However, as seen in previous studies, the community compensation premium tends to be higher at the more senior staff levels. As seen in the previous three studies, the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa tend to be at or near the top of the range for cash compensation at all levels.

Benefits continue to be an important part of the compensation package

Four in five participating organizations provide health benefits to at least one level of staff, while just over half of participating organizations offer retirement benefits. A significant majority of nonprofit management staff receive perks including employer-paid conference registration and travel costs, smartphones for work, paid professional dues and compressed work weeks or flex time.

Education is highly valued by organizations and employees

Nonprofit sector employees are a well-educated group. Except for support staff, 85% or more have at least some post secondary education with a large portion holding a post-graduate degree. As seen in past studies, higher education generally correlates to higher compensation, particularly if the degree/diploma is relevant to the job.

Three-quarters of participating organizations provide education benefits to some of their staff. When received, education benefits total $1,000 to $1,500 for senior management (level 3 or higher) and $465 to $680 at the more junior levels.

Learn more about the 2017 Canadian Nonprofit Sector Salary & Benefits Study and how it can help you and your organization.

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