Charity finance team stretched as pay remains static, suggests latest survey on sector pay

The results of CFG’s latest People and Pay Survey, released recently, have shown that more than 8 in 10 charity finance professionals are regularly working more than their contracted hours, with 50% of finance directors working 20% more – the equivalent of one extra day each week. This comes as salaries have remained flat across most roles this year, and the estimated average value of across the board pay awards is 2%, down from 2.6% in 2011 and 2.3% in 2012.

Caron Bradshaw, CFG’s CEO, commented: “With salaries static and pay award levels decreasing, it’s clear that some charities simply aren’t in a position to reward staff financially. While the results show that the majority of staff feel their work is interesting and that they are making a difference, at a time when many are going the extra mile and putting in longer hours employers shouldn’t take their eye off keeping valued staff happy. We’d urge charities to explore other ways to attract and retain talent – for example flexible working and training are shown to be valued by staff and can be introduced at little or no cost.”

However, the survey does offer some cause for optimism. There was a significant increase in the proportion of charities which had recruited for a new position in their finance department in the previous year, from 18% and 17% in 2011 and 2012, to 25% this year. Additionally the level of redundancies within finance teams and across organisations as a whole is shown to have declined significantly.

The survey also highlighted the wide range of responsibilities resting with many finance teams today. 67% of finance directors reported being responsible for IT, 63% for legal affairs, and 51% for property and facilities. Respondents also spent on average 30% of their time on strategy and development, a level of involvement which appears to be welcomed by many; a strong correlation was evident between time spent on this and overall job satisfaction.

Caron Bradshaw continued: “While the widening responsibilities of finance teams during the downturn probably reflects many organisations seeking to cope with stretched resources, I hope that this trend also highlights a growing recognition of the valuable skills, strategic leadership and insight that finance professionals can bring to the table.”

Key findings

The survey, which attracted 358 responses, also showed:

– Salaries for most job titles remained flat or decreased slightly since last year’s survey.

– The average salary for a finance director is now £61,429, down from £66,531 last year, however this comes after a substantial uplift in 2012.

– 53% of charities made an across the board pay award in 2012, of 2.3% on average (down from 2.6% in 2011). 58% expect to make an award in 2013; however the average is expected to be 2%.

– Pressures on different funding sources did appear to influence organisations’ pay decisions. While 60% of charities who receive the majority of their income from voluntary donations made a pay award in 2012, just 28% of those relying delivering public services were able to.

– The largest charities (those with £25m+ annual income) pay on average one third more to their finance and accountancy staff than those with £1-5m annual income, with this pay difference rising with seniority.

– The regional pay gap has narrowed this year, with staff in London and the South East earning, on average, just 10% more than their peers elsewhere, down from a difference of 20% last year.

– 60% of finance directors in respondent organisations were men, compared to 65% last year, while junior positions continue to be occupied mainly by women.

– 24% of respondent charities reported having recruited someone from the private sector into their finance team in the past year, compared to 13% last year.

– 61% of respondent charities said the economic downturn would not affect their finance team’s recruitment strategy in 2013, compared to 54% in last year’s survey who said it would affect it in 2012.