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CEO pay spikes in the not-for-profit sector

By Scott Pettigrew Mar 24, 2023 | 4:00 AM

There has been no shortage of research demonstrating the ever-widening gap between the salaries of CEOs and the salaries of their employees.

Earlier this year, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that compensation for the top-paid CEOs in Canada jumped more than 30 percent. Meanwhile, the average worker’s salary didn’t even keep up with inflation.

New information from the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) shows the not-for-profit sector is not immune from ballooning CEO pay. Overall compensation in the rest of the sector also isn’t keeping up with inflation.

The CSAE’s report found that average CEO compensation rose by 8.4 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. That meant the average not-for-profit CEO brought home $167,017.

Meanwhile, the average salary for non-management staff, and even compensation for senior managers, “declined, or at best held steady.”

Senior managers saw their compensation bump up by just 1.2 percent, while non-management staff earned a bump of about 2 percent.

Over the longer term, the report says, “compensation is not keeping pace with inflation.”

According to Statistics Canada, inflation in Canada came in at 4.8 percent in 2022. That means everyone except CEOs in the not-for-profit sector effectivity took a pay cut in 2022.

Known informally as the “association of associations,” CSAE is a member-based, not-for-profit organization that produces research and provides resources for Canada’s not-for-profit sector.

For its report, the CSAE surveyed employees at more than 200 associations and not-for-profit organizations across Canada.

Tracy Folkes Hanson is the president and CEO of CSAE. She tells Huddle the biggest factor determining if, or by how much, someone’s compensation went up was whether they changed jobs.

People who moved to a new job or organization, she says, overall saw their salaries go up more than people who stayed put.

“While the overall compensation trends is important, [our report] shows changes at the macro level. So that would include impacts of people entering the sector or leaving the sector, promotions, and lateral move for more, or less money,” she explains.

Folkes Hanson also says the competition for top talent in the sector is “as fierce as it’s ever been.”

“I think the stakes are also really high as the sector faces pressure to do more with less. That’s always the sort of the challenge within our world, especially as recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic ramps up,” she says. “The pressure to do more with less is much more prevalent now.”

With recruitment being so challenging, Folkes Hanson argues the CSAE report is useful because it allows associations and not for profits to benchmark their compensation and benefit offerings against the rest of the industry.

“So, as we work to attract and retain staff it let’s see how we measure up against peer organizations,” she says.

“One of the things that we see often is the whole notion that people are committed to the work that they do as long as they’re recognized for doing good work,” she explains. “I think the report allows our members and not for profit organizations and associations to make sure that they’re being competitive and that they’re are offering opportunities that feels equitable and building compensation plans that really work for their organization.”

Trevor Nichols is the editor of Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


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