Report: Associations Look to Staff Up, But Struggle to Find Talent

A new report from PNP Staffing Group finds that about half of associations plan to increase their staffing levels this year, largely reflecting organizational expansion. The problem? The right talent is harder to come by.

A large percentage of associations are looking to hire in 2018, but it might be hard to get the right people in the right positions.

According to the 2018 Association Salaries and Staffing Trends Report [PDF] from the nonprofit employment firm PNP Staffing, 49 percent of respondents said they plan to increase the size of their staff in 2018, while 40 percent plan to keep levels the same and 10 percent plan to decrease their headcount.

More than half (52 percent) of associations planning to hire new staff this year said program expansion and growth are key reasons. Forty percent said they’re responding to turnover, while 35 percent said organizational restructuring is a factor.

But associations are recruiting in a job market where the right talent is harder to come by, according to the study.  “Chief among the concerns cited by associations is competition for top talent, and what associations see as a ‘skills gap’—the lack of capable candidates who meet the requirements to fill available positions,” the report states, noting that roughly three-quarters of respondents are at least somewhat concerned about the scarcity of talent.

Associations are tackling this problem in several ways, according to the report, including through training and salary. PNP notes that 57 percent of respondents are focusing on improving staff training and professional development. Almost half (49 percent) said they plan to give raises that exceed the cost-of-living increase, and 62 percent said they plan on some form of merit-based salary increase this year.

“Associations in particular appear to be more willing than ever to ‘stretch’ salary offers, to use new and innovative recruitment and interview strategies, and to expand benefits to find and keep the staff they want and need,” PNP’s chief executive officer, Gayle Brandel, noted in a news release.

The report adds that manager accountability, a culture of engagement and ownership, and strong onboarding processes are among the characteristics of organizations that succeed in recruiting an retaining the talent they need.

(Gwengoat/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

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

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