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NFP Recruitment Practices Need Urgent Change – New Study


Monday, 21st April 2008 at 2:58 pm
Staff Reporter
A large proportion of people looking for jobs in the Not for Profit Sector in the US believe that urgent changes are needed in the sector's recruitment, employment and professional development practices - and experts here believe Australia is in the same position.

Monday, 21st April 2008
at 2:58 pm
Staff Reporter


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NFP Recruitment Practices Need Urgent Change – New Study
Monday, 21st April 2008 at 2:58 pm

A large proportion of people looking for jobs in the Not for Profit Sector in the US believe that urgent changes are needed in the sector’s recruitment, employment and professional development practices – and experts here believe Australia is in the same position.

Research company, Commongood Careers surveyed 15,000 US jobseekers asking them to share their attitudes, motivations and challenges in pursuing careers in the social sector.

When asked what type of organisational culture they desired, a "collaborative, team-oriented" environment was most prized, with respondents indicating that this was one of their primary reasons for choosing Not for Profit over private sector jobs.

Although survey participants indicated high levels of tension around "doing good" while also needing to earn a living, they did not want to make substantial trade-offs in the process. While "mission" still ranked first in evaluating job opportunities, "salary" finished second and remained a prevalent theme throughout the survey.

Philip Mayers Associate Director of Not for Profit recruitment agency Silverman Dakin says Australian Not for Profits also need to change their recruitment strategies and described the study as excellent.

Mayers agrees that Australian organisations need to show their ‘cultural connect’ or non salary benefits when trying to attract people to the sector, for example promoting flexible working hours.

He says people don’t work in the Not for Profit sector for money but for its values and career opportunities – but they do it at great risk.

He says many organisations wrongly believe that if they are to run like a business then they must be cruel to workers often keeping them on a short leash when in fact successful businesses are often very supportive of their workers.

Many workers who have come from the business sector find it hard to adjust to be under resources in the Not for Profit sector.

He says for skilled professionals working in the sector such as accounts they need to have the opportunity to share in the power of the organisation and the good work it is doing.

The US study asked what might keep people employed at a single organisation for 5-10 years, the top response was "feeling continually challenged by my job." On the other hand, respondents indicated that the relative absence of career ladders, mentors and professional development might limit their long-term ability to remain in the sector.

Jobseekers agree that the need for change is real, as over 75% of respondents agreed with each of the following statements:
– Organisations must change their recruitment practices to attract next generation leaders.
– Organisations must change their employment practices to retain next generation leaders.
– Organisations must do more to professionally develop future Not for Profit leaders from within.

To provide some ideas for NFPs looking to put this information to work, the study offers the following strategies:

1. Define and publicly share a statement about your organization’s unique culture and values.
2. Define your "employer brand" and leverage your marketing resources in your hiring efforts.
3. Develop a proactive, year-round commitment to recruiting and informational interviewing.
4. Consider "re-scaling" growth plans for increased salaries across fewer, higher-level employees.
5. Stay current with evolving salary trends and maintain your competitiveness in compensation.
6. Get creative with benefits, offering more flexibility with vacation time and employment arrangements.
7. Build career ladders for every employee, identify successors, and promote employees regularly.
8. Challenge and develop employees through in-house training programs and mentoring opportunities.

Philip Mayers agrees with the recommendations of the study and urges Australian Not for Profits to use recruitment organisations that know the sector to attract and keep the right staff.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.cgcareers.org/downloads/CGC_2008TalentSurveyReport.pdf



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