Report: Nonprofit CEO Gender Pay Gap Persists

A new report from GuideStar indicates that there are more female nonprofit CEOs than ever, especially at smaller organizations, but the compensation gap in the sector persists—and in some cases may be getting worse.

In one way, the gender gap is starting to look smaller than ever. In another, the gap is still apparent.

That’s according to the latest edition of the GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, which covers the 2014 fiscal year. The report states that more women than ever are heading large nonprofits.

“The nonprofit sector has moved toward greater gender equality in the past 10 years,” GuideStar Senior Research Fellow Chuck McLean noted in a news release.

However, that data point tells only part of the story. The problem is twofold, according to the report, which is based on more than 96,000 Form 990 tax filings:

The gender gap is most pronounced at larger organizations. Women still represent only one-fifth of CEOs at organizations with budgets larger than $50 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The gap, although an improvement over the 14 percent level seen in 2013, remains significant. The pay differential at larger organizations is considerable as well, with male CEOs making 23 percent more than women at organizations with budgets larger than $25 million.

Even at small organizations, a gender pay gap is apparent. The difference is getting smaller at many small nonprofits, where women tend to represent the majority of chief executives. The gap in pay, according to the study, remains at 8 percent.

According to Nonprofit Quarterly writer Michael Wyland, one element of the gender gap highlighted by the GuideStar report requires a little reading between the lines:

The one-year median increase in incumbent CEO compensation by gender and organization size is interesting because, while the pay gap between men and women is closing at organizations with budgets under $25 million, it’s widening for organizations with budgets over $25 million. Especially since smaller nonprofits report lower median increases in compensation for both men and women, it’s perplexing to note that large nonprofits, which would potentially have greater resources to devote to pay equity, appear to be neglecting that responsibility.

The issues raised by the study are in many ways systemic. And McLean told Crain’s he didn’t see an immediate solution to the problem.

“Certainly not in my lifetime,” he said of seeing the gap close. Pay equity “will require some sort of fundamental social change to disrupt the regression line.”

The full report is available for sale at the GuideStar website.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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