Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Charity salaries

I see some media folks are all aflutter again because some executives that work in the nonprofit sector are paid a reasonable salary.

The news item says that three tenths of one percent of the two million or so people that work in charities earn more than $120,000.

Let's get real. Most of these high earners are in upper management positions in large, complex organizations --- universities, hospitals, major museums, and the like. These organizations have budgets in the hundreds of millions, and employ thousands of people.

In most cases, they are charged with delivering education, healthcare, or social programs to thousands of clients on behalf of the federal or provincial government.

Screwing up is not an option.

They have spent their careers preparing for these key roles. Many require post-graduate education in management and/or a specialized field.

They are dedicated, work ridiculous hours under high pressure, sacrifice personal and family time, and receive much less in compensation than they could earn elsewhere.

Similar positions in comparable private sector companies pay significantly (usually several times) more. For heavens sake, the average brand new MBA from McGill University, with zero experience, starts at $103,000.

If we want the best people we can find to take these demanding positions, we must pay adequate compensation.

Charities are an easy target because they usually don't fight back. A fairer target would be Canada's best-paid CEO's, whose average paycheque is $6.6 million.

Meanwhile, the huge majority of people who work in the nonprofit sector receives compensation that is a fraction of that enjoyed by their peers in the private sector. They do this work because they want to make Canada a better place. For more facts, read this.

The media needs to give its head a shake, and stop peddling this irresponsible garbage.

1 comment:

  1. But we expect our charities to be run by Mother Theresa and our businesses by Conrad Black.

    I hope your message reaches the people it needs to reach.