Glass Ceiling at Non-Profits?

July 9, 2009 ( - Male CEOs/executive directors at Central Florida nonprofit organizations earn significantly higher average pay than their female counterparts.

A news release about the 2009 Nonprofit Compensation and Benefits Report from the Rollins Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center said the average annual compensation for male CEOs/executive directors is $110,962, while it is $80,987 per year for females. The poll covered 145 organizations.

While more of the surveyed CEOs/executive directors are women, there are more males in the CEO/executive director positions at the largest organizations, the news release said.

“Since the two years when we released our initial findings, we’ve seen mounting pressure on nonprofits to compete for talent with their business counterparts, resulting in higher pay at the top-level and a need for more comprehensive benefits for employees at all levels,” said Margaret Linanne, executive director of the center, in the news release. “However, given the economy, nonprofit employees are staying longer at their jobs, and only a small percent expect to offer salary increases for employees in 2009.”

According to the study, 53% of the CEOs/executive directors in the survey hold a master’s degree or doctorate. Salaries were generally seen to increase with the level of education achieved; those with a master’s degree earned an average salary of $105,866 versus those with a bachelor’s degree, who earned an average of $85,318.

Base salary levels for the four executive positions reported in detail have risen significantly since the Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center's initial 2007 study:

  • CEO/executive director: $93,939 in 2009 versus $79,161 in 2007
  • COO/associate director: $87,897 in 2009 versus $72,902 in 2007
  • CFO: $90,897 in 2009 versus $85,135 in 2007
  • Development director: $72,323 in 2009 versus $69,107 in 2007

The announcement said 88% of participating organizations offer some level of medical insurance to full-time employees; however, the premiums covered by employers have generally dropped. For example, in 2007, 58% of organizations offering PPO insurance for employees paid 100% of the premium. In 2009, 47% of employers offering that type of plan paid 100% for employees.

Sixty-eight percent of participating organizations offer retirement benefits to their employees, an increase over the 62% of organizations with a retirement benefit in 2007. A slightly higher proportion of employers now offer plans funded solely by employee contributions: 16% in 2009 as compared with 12% in 2007.

Data was compiled on more than 8,300 individual salaries and categorized into 121 job titles.