There’s an excellent article in the 6/12/2019 edition of fastcampny.com by Ben Paynter that examines two recent studies on nonprofit staff compensation. Spoiler alert: both studies uncovered ample evidence that compensation is a strong pain point among most employees.
Compensation is a regular topic here at Adaptistration and back in 2016, we conducted a survey of orchestra and opera staffers and managers to help determine the how and why behind orchestra managers changing jobs.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, dissatisfaction with compensation was a common reason behind pursuing a new gig.
But one metric that has consistently eluded the field is the rate of change between staff and executive pay levels. Unlike executive compensation, most staffers and middle managers earn far below required reporting levels by the IRS and I have yet to see the League of American Orchestras release this data.
It’s not exactly a surprise and based on my direct knowledge, it would be shocking if the results indicated anything other than a steadily increasingly wage gap between the executive, middle manager, and staff employment tiers.
If that weren’t enough, look at the number of likes and replies generated by two recent tweets from the always sharp @ArtsAdminSay Twitter account, both of which focused on compensation topics.
We want to hire a Director of Development who has at least 10 years of successful fundraising experience. The salary is $45k per year.
— Shit Arts Administrators Say (@artsadminssay) June 12, 2019
We have a salary budgeted for the position we’re hiring but let’s not publish it and have each applicant tell us their salary range to see how cheap we can get someone to do the job.
— Shit Arts Administrators Say (@artsadminssay) June 25, 2019
This field loves to talk about sustainable business models, but how much worse does this situation need to become before it can get better?