By James D’AmbrosioJamesProfile1Twitter

Nonprofit HR Solutions, a consulting firm serving nonprofits, in conjunction with The Improve Group, has published the 2013 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey, outlining current employment practices and discuss the economic trends and implications of employment practices. Data, gathered from nearly 600 nonprofits across the U.S., focused on staffing, recruitment, and retention practices in four areas: 1) staff size and projected growth; 2) recruitment strategies and budgeting; 3) staffing challenges; and 4) staff resource management. The report also includes input from interviews with HR professionals regarding current employment practices and employment trends, to provide context.


1) NONPROFITS PLANNING FOR GROWTH: 44 percent of nonprofits plan to create positions this year, up from 33 percent (2011) and 43 percent (2012). Only 7 percent are planning to eliminate positions in the coming year.

2) TURNOVER EXPECTED TO REMAIN STEADY: 87 percent of respondents indicated they do not anticipate turnover rate increasing in the year ahead. While retirements and voluntary resignations remain flat, there’s a continued small increase in involuntary terminations — 2 percent two years ago, 5 percent last year, and 7 percent in 2013.

3) NONPROFITS UNPREPARED FOR LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION: 69 percent of nonprofits did not have a formal succession plan for senior leadership. As the baby-boom generation of leaders retires, lack of a plan may compromise ability to prepare for major transitions.

4) MAJORITY OF NONPROFITS DO NOT HAVE FORMAL RETENTION STRATEGIES: 90 percent of survey respondents had no formal plan for retaining staff. Agencies noted the top three areas of growth — direct services, program management/support and fundraising/development — are also the areas facing the greatest challenges with retention.

5) SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES CONTINUE GROWTH AS RECRUITMENT TOOLS: A 25 percent increase using LinkedIn and 30 percent increase using Facebook as recruitment tools compared with last year’s survey. Since just 20 percent (1 in 5) agencies reported having a formal recruitment budget, social media can be a low-cost option for advertising positions.

6) AGENCIES CONTINUE STRUGGLING WITH WORKFORCE DIVERSITY/INCLUSION: The greatest challenge reported was retaining staff under age 30 (38 percent, up from 30 percent the previous year); followed by staff reflecting the composition of the communities they serve (32 percent); and balancing ethnic/cultural diversity, 26 percent, down from 30 percent last year.

7) NEW HIRING PRACTICES SHOW EFFORT TO AVOID EMPLOYEE BURNOUT: Over the last three years, the percentage of nonprofits adding staff to support new initiatives rose from 29 percent (2010) to 37 percent (2013). Conversely, the percentage of nonprofits using existing staff for new programs dropped from 57 percent (2010) to 48 percent (2013), as agencies realize employees are at capacity.




What finding(s) do you think are most significant? Why?

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