US Recession Taking A Toll On NFP Workers
Thursday, 15th July 2010 at 12:31 pm
Nearly 40 percent of US Not for Profit organisations currently lack adequate staff to deliver their programs and services, according to results of a survey released by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies.
Almost a third of organisations reported net reductions in their workforces over the six months preceding the survey (October 2009-March 2010). In contrast, 23 percent reported employment gains during the same period and another 46 percent reported no change, despite facing expanded needs.
In a previous Johns Hopkins survey, 34 percent of organisations reported eliminating staff positions and 41 percent postponed filling new positions during the six months between September 2008 and March 2009.
Report author, Lester Salamon and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, which conducted this survey as part of its Listening Post Project. says the pressures on Not for Profits have accelerated and are clearly taking their toll and while organisations have shown enormous resilience and commitment to their critical missions, this has come at a price.
Workforce reductions are only part of the story. The report says NFPs have been forced to take additional actions that impact workers and the ability to deliver critical programs and services.
Among responding organisations:
- 49 percent “refined job descriptions,” often a euphemism for increasing employee workloads and assigning the responsibilities of laid-off staff to remaining employees.
- 39 percent implemented a salary freeze, and 36 percent postponed filling new positions.
- Other actions included increasing staff hours (23 percent), cutting or reducing benefits (23 percent), increasing non-program work for program staff (12 percent), and reducing wages (12 percent).
Changes in employment varied significantly by field. Organisations in two of the six fields covered in the survey (elderly services and community and economic development) reported overall employment growth, the former by 0.6 percent and the latter by 5 percent. This was likely a result of continued economic recovery program spending.
In contrast, theaters reported job reductions of 6 percent. The remaining three fields also recorded reductions including orchestras (-3 percent), museums (-1 percent), and children and family service organisations (-0.7 percent).
Arts and culture organisations have been particularly hard hit with 56 percent of the theaters and 53 percent of museums reporting inadequate staff to maintain their existing activities.
The 526 Not for Profit organisations responding to the Listening Post survey included children and family service agencies, elderly housing and service organisations, community and economic development organisations, museums, theaters, and orchestras.
The full report “Recession Pressures on Nonprofit Jobs” is available online at http://ccss.jhu.edu.