The fight for pay equity in the nonprofit world
Introduction to the debate on salary disclosure
I spent Sunday watching the Wimbledon men’s tennis final. It was a great game, with Matteo Berretini and Novak Djokovic playing an aggressive and powerful game. They kept my head on a pivot for almost three and a half hours. I think about it now as I watch the back and forth on salary disclosure in nonprofits. Here is an introduction to the debate.
On our pages, the conversation began at the end of June, when Vincent Robinson, managing partner of executive search firm 360 Group, argued against the inclusion of salary scales in job advertisements in organizations. non-profit. The campaign for pay disclosure is supported by the #ShowTheSalary campaign, which aims to advance fairness through pay transparency.
Fairness is a goal that Robinson says his business is particularly focused on. Ninety percent of executives the 360 Group finds positions for in nonprofits and foundations are people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities, according to Robinson. He argues that salary disclosures on job descriptions can deter these candidates – who often receive less pay than their peers – from pursuing leadership opportunities.
Instead of posting salaries, Robinson encourages nonprofits to search for candidates over a longer period of time to ensure they reach a diverse pool. Among other suggestions, he advocates creating a search committee as diverse as the candidates you hope to attract for the position.
Readers have vigorously responded to Robinson’s op-ed with multiple letters to the editor. Mike Geiger, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, called Robinson’s opinion “misguided and harmful”. Salary disclosure, he wrote, should be one of the many steps – including extended research periods and other strategies Robinson recommended – that nonprofits take to attract diverse applicants. .
“How can he believe this is a good idea when the Studies show that a lack of pay transparency contributes to hiring inequity and reinforces kind and racial pay differentials in the fundraising profession and in society as a whole? ” he wrote.
My colleague Drew Lindsay has now deepened the debate. His latest post examines a strategy employed by Vu Le, the former nonprofit executive who runs the blog AF non-profit. He criticizes organizations that advertise job vacancies that do not indicate how much the work would be paid for – a practice he calls “wage concealment”. In the last month alone, he sent out 15 appealing tweets, sometimes several in a day.
Le and other advocates make a simple argument: Without salary details, job applicants enter salary negotiations with serious disadvantage. Research points out that women and workers of color face prejudices in wage negotiations and do not fare well; in part because of the fact that they are paid less than their white male counterparts. Without a pay scale, they are deprived of information that would strengthen their bargaining position and make negotiations more objective.
Research has not yet determined whether mentioning pay in job postings improves pay equity. Such an analysis is likely, as Colorado became a natural test case after adopting a law in January which forces employers to include wages in job postings.
Research into the effects of recent state laws prohibiting employers from requesting salary histories has underscored Le’s argument. A similar study of public universities in the United States due to comply with new state laws on public disclosure found that the difference between the salaries of men and women fell from 9% to 3%. The researchers, from the University of Utah and the HEC Paris business school, said wages available for all to see “pressured employers to more aggressively correct inequalities.” (They also warned that public dissemination of wages can create conflict in the workplace; transparency, wrote Todd Zenger of the University of Utah in Harvard Business Review, “Creates a wider playing field for our comparisons” and increases employee obsession with pay.)
Closing the pay gap will require more than just adding dollar signs to an ad, say Le and others. They are campaigning for better compensation for nonprofit workers in general. Some are urging groups to link executive wages to the wages of lower paid workers to avoid gaping holes in their pay scales. They are also calling on groups to remove education requirements, which can hamper qualified applicants.
For more details on the wage disclosure fight, read Drew’s full story. And stay tuned for more coverage as my colleagues and I continue to follow the debate.
To hear from you
What does the debate over pay scales in job postings mean for fundraising? Do you think the practice should be more or less widely adopted? Drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.