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Salary and Organisational Culture Survey 2021

 

Our 2021 Salary and Organisational Culture Survey report gives a unique insight into how salaries and workplace culture have changed over the past year for charity communicators. 

Sarah Clarke

Sarah Clarke

Head of membership, CharityComms

Sarah is the head of membership at CharityComms. She’s dedicated to growing and improving the membership experience for our fantastic network of charity communicators.

Alexis de Ponson du Terrail

Alexis de Ponson du Terrail

Digital projects manager, CharityComms

Alexis is the digital projects manager at CharityComms. He’s focused on improving the experience of our Digital Benchmark participants and delivering valuable information for the sector through our reports.

Glen Manners

Glen Manners

Associate director - membership and education, Charity People

Glen has spent the last six years working in partnership with the wider Not for Profit sector where he has placed over 250 professionals across membership, awarding bodies and charities.
Alice Wood

Alice Wood

Senior consultant - marketing and communications, Charity People

Alice has been recruiting in the Charity sector since 2008 and is motivated by building lasting, successful relationships with her candidates and clients.

Introduction and Executive Summary

Each year, our salary and organisational culture survey gives us an insight into how charity comms and marketing professionals feel about their role and how they are perceived within the sector, as well as a snapshot of changes in salary levels and workplace culture.

This year we had 495 respondents (up from 406 in 2020) and were delighted to partner again with Charity People to produce this report. Respondents were from charities of all sizes, from locations throughout the UK, across comms roles and levels. More details about our respondents can be found in the methodology section. 

Welcome from CharityComms

 

Adeela Warley

Adeela Warley

CEO, CharityComms

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to this year’s Salary and Organisational Culture Survey, from all of those who completed the survey to those who provided invaluable additional insights and case studies.

As well as providing a unique picture of how those working in charity comms feel about their place in the sector, the report can be used in many different ways to:

  • Evaluate how much comms is valued.
  • Provide data to boost the status of comms.
  • Make the case for staff investment.
  • Secure organisational buy-in.
  • Spot and compare trends.

None of us can say that we’ve figured out how to make our new working situations work perfectly. We’re all still very much adjusting, learning and adapting as we go.

Keeping each other informed, opening channels for dialogue and making sure everyone is heard are all vital in ensuring that those in comms are able to continue to deliver such amazing work to support their causes.

Welcome from Charity People

 

Nick Billingham

Nick Billingham

Managing Director, Charity People

We’re so pleased to partner with CharityComms again on their annual salary and wellbeing survey. This information is vital in helping to support organisations with data that can help with recruitment as well as retention. As always, the results are fascinating and provide an interesting snapshot into the place of comms within the sector.

At a time when arguably it has never been better to be a job seeker, it feels like there is so much that we can all be doing to consider these results, as well as to consider what action we might need to take to ensure that jobs remain rewarding, enriching and engaging. One thing is for sure, employees no longer see homeworking as a just an additional benefit; instead this should be treated as essential.

It is clear that there remains work to be done to ensure the sector is treating equity as a necessity. Anecdotally though, I remain buoyed by the number of conversations we’re having as recruiters with organisations wanting to ensure they are creating an inclusive workplace.

I look forward to digesting these results, in particular how they can impact upon the employee experience. I hope you will do the same.

Executive summary 

The past two years have seen a seismic shift. Work is no longer where people are – it’s what they do, how they do it and how they treat others. Remote working has brought with it a mix of advantages and challenges – while our working day might be more flexible, in reality it has often meant more hours and increased pressure, particularly given the challenges to charities’ services, finances, staffing and governance.

Our 2021 report shows a very mixed picture, with signs of recovery alongside continuing evidence of burnout. The data indicates that the sector is starting to stabilise somewhat with the number of jobs available back to almost the same levels as 2019. Flexible working has been embraced and systems adapted to allow for remote working. However, those working in charity marketing and communications are continuing to feel under pressure and, in many cases, under-appreciated.

Comments from respondents show that many feel exhausted, not listened to, underpaid and undervalued, particularly after working so hard to support their causes during the toughest times during the pandemic. However, it’s also true that these are times of huge adaptation and change for most organisations, who are still introducing rapid changes in their ways of working and revising their structures and procedures to a new reality.

“…remote work is more than getting a license to Zoom or setting up an open workspace. We need to build a set of rules, practices, and cultural norms that let people work remotely.”

– Josh Bersin, The Big Reset: Making Sense Of The Coronavirus Crisis

Whatever the current (or near future) advice around going back to the office might be, it seems that the majority of us do not want to go back to ‘normal’, whatever that might look like. 95% of people said that they would expect flexibility to be built into a future role.

Top takeaways from our 2021 survey include:

  • The average salary increased slightly by 0.79% to £38,909.
  • On average, women working in charity communications earn £5,183 less than men working in the sector.
  • People with disabilities working on charity communications earn on average £1,155 less than their colleagues.
  • The number of those working fully from home over the past year almost doubled to just under 20%.
  • 95% of people said that they would expect any future role would include flexible conditions like working from home.
  • 85% of people cited teamwork and sharing ideas with colleagues as something they would like to retain while working remotely.
  • The number of respondents who felt that others’ perception of the value of their role had increased during 2021 fell by 9.1%.
  • Digital, online and social media roles saw the biggest increase on last year with 4.6% more people (21.6% in total) telling us that was their main area of expertise.

Section 1

Practicalities: salaries and roles

Despite the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, salaries in the charity communications sector did not fall during 2021. This aligns with a CharityJob analysis of the charity job market from Jan 2020 onwards that found “salaries across all jobs posted have stayed relatively stable.”

Overall, salary levels among our respondents increased modestly during the past year by 0.79% to £38,909. This is not quite as large an increase as our survey results from 2020, which saw an increase of 6% from 2019. While stability can be seen as a positive sign, stagnant salary levels are a cause for concern. Think tank Pro Bono Economics has said that 2021 charity salary levels would need to increase by 8.8% by 2024 to keep up with inflation and ensure wages do not fall in real terms.

This year we included a new level of Senior Manager, which was selected by 9.8% of people and showed an average salary of £40,583. Digital, online and social media roles saw the biggest increase on last year with 4.6% more people (21.6% in total) telling us that was their main area of expertise.

55% told us that they managed people or teams as part of their role and the average salary for that group was £42,783. Those who don’t have management responsibilities earn on average £31,414 per year.

“‘Manager’ in one charity can mean something entirely different in terms of responsibility to another, while the salary of a ‘manager’ can vary from upper 20s to into the 50s. There should be efforts to standardise this.”

– Head of Communications working full-time at a medium-sized charity in London

When asked how they thought marketing and comms salaries had changed over the past year, 19.8% of people felt that they had increased, while 9.6% felt that they had decreased and 46% felt they had stayed the same.

“I think it’s a hard thing to approach with senior management. Tips on how to negotiate salary would be good. Failing that a national campaign to review employees wages.”

- Executive/officer working across all areas at a medium charity in the North East

The general perception is that salaries are too low in the charity sector, which can not only lead to an obvious loss in morale and feeling of being less valued, but can also cause real issues with recruitment as well as retention within the sector.

Being adequately compensated for the work that we do is a key aspect of feeling valued. As one person said, "we are underpaid compared to the private sector. No reason for that - just because we work for a charity doesn't make us worth less!"

“I find it very unfortunate that comms salaries in environmental charities are lower compared to other causes, especially when climate / biodiversity crises are among the most significant challenges we face.”

- Communications manager at a medium charity in the South East

Other data tables around how people are working

Working hours showed a decrease in full-time roles of 2.6% with an increase of 1.87% in part-time roles.

2021 shows a decrease of just over 2% of people in permanent roles, with a similar increase (2.1%) of those who are working as freelancers.

How much experience do you have...

Key takeaways

  • Overall salary levels increased slightly by 0.79% to £38,909.
  • 55% of people told us that they managed people or teams as part of their role and the average salary for that group was £42,783. Those who don’t have management responsibilities earn on average £31,414 per year.
  • The general perception is that salaries are too low in the charity sector: "We are underpaid compared to the private sector. No reason for that - just because we work for a charity doesn't make us worth less!"
  • Digital, online and social media roles saw the biggest increase on last year with 4.6% more people (21.6% in total) telling us that was their main area of expertise.

Section 2

New ways of working

By now we are all aware that the world of working will not go back to the pre-pandemic situation and many organisations have made practical changes to accommodate their new ways of working.

As part of a move to hybrid working, the RSPCA is planning to sell its head office and move to smaller premises after a survey found that 83% of staff wanted to increase the time they spent working from home. A Future of Work report based on a survey of more than 800 fundraising professionals found that 90% would like flexible working to continue long-term, even when it is possible to return to the office full time.

Ensuring staff feel listened to during any process of change is essential. When it came to thinking about a return to the office, 75% of people told us they had the opportunity to inform decisions, but many comments show that people feel their opinion was not subsequently taken into account.

“They sent a massive survey round but haven’t been clear about the results or about what happens next.”

– Executive/officer working full time in digital at a medium-sized charity in London

Harvard Business Review says that almost one third of employees who experience organisational change don’t actually know why the change is happening. Clear communications, asking people to get involved in the decision-making process, consistent messaging and having change-ambassadors can help maintain stability during a time of upheaval.

Our survey showed that UK charities have made clear efforts to open spaces of consultation with their teams around the changes needed to continue their operation amid the uncertainty and continuing changes. However, comments suggest there is still space to improve those processes, incorporating a constant dialogue and ways to gather feedback rather than relying on single, one-off consultations.

“It has felt that people are returning quite reluctantly. Hybrid meetings when some of the group are in the office and others aren’t, don’t work.”

– Head of all areas working full-time at a large charity in the East of England

Continually listening to staff and looking out for unexpected challenges is also essential for organisations. The Future of Work report showed that almost 25% of those wanting to return to the office said the reason was insufficient access to software.

A Tech Nation Report 2021 showed that in the UK, 35% of people associate technology with ‘anything that makes life easier.’ 2020 was all about improvising and adapting – now people need effective, long-term solutions to make it easier for them to do their jobs wherever they happen to be.

“We were requested to return to the office full time, despite us saying in a survey that we liked hybrid working. The request caused a number of staff to raise this and hybrid is in operation, and will be reviewed next year.”

– Manager working full-time in campaigns at a medium-sized charity in the South East

More than just a space

More than just a space (Photo by irfan-simsar unsplash)

The past two years have shown that our work is more than just the space in which we do our jobs. The proportion of people who told us they were working fully from home over the past year almost doubled (to just under 20%), while the number of those who said they would prefer to work from home 3-4 days per week increased by 9.11% to 36.8%.

Flexible conditions are now a must for any job offer. 95% of people told us that they would expect any future role to include flexible conditions like working from home. Over the past 18 months, the number of charity jobs listed as being flexible or remote increased from fewer than 5% of all those posted to around 15%.

Flexibility means more than just the ability to work from home – it means flexible hours, job sharing, skills sharing, and real organisational change to ensure a culture of support and equality. It means not forgetting those who are not in the room and creating genuine ways for teams to collaborate, contribute and also step back when they need to.

“…in terms of the future of work, and we think about supporting the charity sector workforce right now and into the future, I think that needs us to prioritise flexible working, and to be responsive employers of both staff and volunteers.”

– Pip Gardner, CEO of the Kite Trust, speaking at the launch of NCVO’s Road Ahead report in Jan 2022 

Communication and collaboration

Collaboration (Photo by nick-fewings-unsplash)

No matter how close we are to our colleagues, working remotely can be alienating, even if it’s what most of us are doing. Out of sight can be out of mind and it can be all too easy to lose touch with co-workers, particularly those we don’t work with directly. Conversely, continually having to set up another meeting or send an email, just to answer a simple question that would have previously been answered from across the room can be exhausting and time-consuming.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given these challenges, during 2021 the number of people who think cross-team communication is effective within their organisation fell by 3.3% to 39.9%, while the number of those who believe it’s ineffective rose by 3.8% to 33.25%.

When thinking about what aspects of in-person working are important to maintain while working remotely, more than 85% of people cited teamwork and sharing ideas with colleagues. The second most popular aspect was the social elements of being with others at work (78.8%), followed by having a place different from home to work (62.3%).

The idea of having a different space in which to work is very telling in that, for many, working from home is still relatively new and the reality that it’s becoming a more permanent fixture is just setting in. The sense that doing ‘more’ means that we can be seen to be contributing or working longer hours just because we can (our laptop is already on and just a few feet away) is not a long-term, sustainable way of working or living.

“Caring about what you do and being tired – or even uninspired – are not mutually exclusive, and we should be mindful to avoid the trap of framing our work cultures around this.”

– Alan Lally-Francis, head of influencing at ACEVO, writing in Third Sector

Establishing routines and reporting structures, instituting core hours and encouraging breaks are all ways organisations can help support a more realistic work/life balance.

Internal communications has been a vital part of ensuring the successful implementation of new working structures, tools and strategies to reach people with vital information. Just as important has been the role of comms in helping people feel included and making sure that their voice is being heard.

Effective collaboration requires that you and your team agree on which modes of communications should be used for different types of activities. Is a Teams message best for a quick question about something that doesn’t need to be tracked? Email for if you’re sending a document? What about external meetings?

The 2021 Nonprofit Trends Report from Salesforce showed that remotely managing employees and volunteers has been a major issue for one third of organisations over the past year, with 84% saying it will continue to be a challenge. Balancing expectations (a continued ability to collaborate) with reality (remote or hybrid working and its added pressures) is more important than ever, and clear communications is key in accommodating both.

Resources

Key takeaways

  • The number of people who told us they were working fully from home over the past year almost doubled (to just under 20%).
  • The number of those who said they would prefer to work from home 3-4 days per week increased by 9.11% to 36.8%.
  • 95% of people told us that they would expect any future role to include flexible conditions like working from home.
  • 75% said they had the opportunity to inform decisions about a return to the office, but many comments show that people feel their opinion was not subsequently taken into account.
  • More than 85% of people cited teamwork and sharing ideas with colleagues as the aspect that is most important to maintain while working remotely.
  • The number of people who think cross-team communication is effective within their organisation fell by 3.3% to 39.9% (those who believe it’s ineffective rose by 3.8% to 33.25%).

Section 3

Workplace culture and wellbeing

What does it mean to be happy at work? Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley, defines happiness at work as, “an overall sense of enjoyment at work; being able to gracefully handle setbacks; connecting amicably with colleagues, coworkers, clients, and customers; and knowing that your work matters to yourself, your organisation, and beyond”. Our happiness at work is something that is greatly affected by who we work with and how we work with them.

Although relatively small, overall our responses show a decrease in the number of people who are generally happy in their role and an increase in those who are generally unhappy in their roles. With such tremendous shifts in the world of work (and the world in general) it’s natural to question our priorities and evaluate where we are and where we would like to be.

While most people (68.71%) feel their job allows them to have balanced lives, 85.5% say that they typically work over their contracted hours. The majority (48.6%) work between one and five extra hours per week, but there is a significant proportion (10.7%) working between six and ten additional hours each week.

According to research from staffing firm Robert Half, “nearly 70% of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends, and 45% say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.”

Those who are continuing to work longer hours say that it’s down to lack of investment and fewer resources, but the number of people who think their organisation’s staff levels will increase in the next year rose by 19% to 51%, offering some optimism for the future.

Looking after our wellbeing

Looking after our wellbeing (photo by max-van-den-oetelaar-buymYm3RQ3U-unsplash)

The figures around how work is affecting our mental health remain relatively unchanged with the overall number of people saying their role has a positive or negative impact changing by less than 1% (26.6% saying overall positive and 33.8% saying overall negative).

“I am really concerned about the lack of support for mental well-being in the sector, particularly for those running social media on behalf of organisations. This job makes me sad all the time and in part that’s because of the lack of respect it affords internally.”

– Digital officer working for a medium London charity

While most people say they feel able to talk about their wellbeing at work, almost a half of them report there are no established channels or ways they feel they are able to so.

“My organisation is working on creating a better culture around talking about wellbeing, but we’re definitely not there yet and it’s still quite hard often.”

– Executive/officer working in comms full-time at a medium-sized charity in London

An understanding of the importance of wellbeing should be incorporated at all levels and it’s encouraging that ACEVO’s Pay and Equalities 2021 report found that 60% of the CEOs who responded thought their board prioritised their wellbeing, up 6% on last year.

Creating a culture of openness and providing ways to give feedback are vital in nurturing a safe, supportive work environment.

“My org likes to talk about wellbeing at work but then does nothing when staff raise concerns. We work in areas that elicit strong responses on social media and there is no support for the mental wellbeing of staff who run it who then get blamed for a lack of personal resilience when things get difficult.”

– Executive/officer working full-time in digital at a medium-sized charity in London

Providing support to social media managers

Read the full Guide to Best Practice in Ethical Digital Marketing & Comms Practices produced by Charities Against Hate.

Additional tables around workplace culture and wellbeing

Resources

Key takeaways

  • 68.7% of people feel their jobs allow balanced lives.
  • 85.5% say that they typically work over the contracted hours – the majority (48.6%) work between one and five extra hours per week, but there is a significant proportion (10.7%) working between six and ten additional hours each week.
  • The number of people who think their organisation’s staff levels will increase in the next year rose by 19% to 51%.
  • While most people say they feel able to talk about their wellbeing at work, almost a half of them report there are no established channels or ways they feel they are able to so.
  • “My organisation is working on creating a better culture around talking about wellbeing, but we’re definitely not there yet and it’s still quite hard often.”

Section 4

The value of comms

During the first year of the pandemic, communications were critical for the charities response to the disruption of in-person activities, helping to move activities online and supporting staff, volunteers and beneficiaries throughout the process. The crucial role of communications was appreciated and led to a significant increase in its valuation in our 2020 report. However, since then, perceptions of the value of comms seems to have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

The number of people who felt that others’ perception of the value of their role had increased during 2021 fell by 9.1% on the previous year to 52.6%. This is almost back to the 2019 figure of 51.1%. This feels very disappointing considering how the tremendous developments made by charities throughout the pandemic – in finding new and innovative ways to reach audiences, to provide vital information and support and in many cases to transform service delivery – was underpinned throughout by communications, both internal and external.

“…people still don’t understand the role of comms. Even after demonstrating our worth in the pandemic.”

– Manager/Lead working full-time in PR at a large charity in Scotland

A closer look at the data can help us to consider why those working in comms and marketing might feel this way and, more importantly, how organisations can work to mitigate damage to morale and retention among staff.

“Communications is still often perceived as an added extra rather than central to charitable causes, particularly in the conservation sector.”

– Director of communications working full-time at a medium-sized organisation in London

People working at super-large charities are more optimistic about how their roles are perceived – 65.7% think comms are more valued by others at their org than in the past year.

This proportion is lower but still predominant among people working in large (52.8%) and medium-sized (53.8%) charities. However, the majority of those working for smaller organisation (58.8%) feel the value of communications remains the same by comparison with 2020. The feeling that communications are less valued than the previous year is marginal across charities of all sizes.

“I feel that the true value of marketing is often not recognised or understood in organisations – partly perhaps because there is little knowledge of marketing in the senior management teams. Even if, like me, the Marketing Manager is part of the senior team. This can lead to very small teams, longer hours and lower salaries – especially in the charity sector.”

– Senior full-time marketing manager at a medium-sized charity in the Midlands

The figures around how many people at participating charities have communications/ marketing as part of their job role has also shifted slightly, with those saying that 11 or more staff have mar/comms as part of their role decreasing by 6.8%.

The perception of value when it comes to our role at work can be swayed by many factors – internal communications, personal development, and team structure as well as more obvious aspects such as our salary. According to the 2022 Global Culture Report, employee engagement rises by 173% when employee recognition is part of an organisation’s culture – and feelings of success also climb by 151%.

Designing for digital

Designing for digital ( photo by ales-nesetril-unsplash)

Digital has been instrumental in allowing charities to shift services online and make the move to remote working. The sector has made tremendous leaps ahead over the course of the pandemic and in a joint CharityComms / Media Trust survey in April 2021, 60% of people said they had improved confidence in their organisation’s digital skills since the start of the pandemic.

These figures are consistent with the Charity Commission Covid-19 Survey (2021) data, where 49% of charities asserted they have benefited from improving the use of digital technology among staff and volunteers.

The number of people who told us that they feel there is a good understanding of digital from their board or at senior management level fell by just over 2% to 38%. Those who do not feel there’s a good understanding also fell slightly, by 2.6%. Those who do not know rise by 4.7%, perhaps another indication of the continued need for effective internal communications, particularly when working remotely.

“In digital roles, organisations are only just starting to realise it’s not a one person job and that there’s different skill sets needed.”

– Manager/lead working full-time in digital at a large charity based in London

The number of those who feel digital is not effectively embedded within their organisation rose by 3.4% during 2021, to 24.5%, while the number of those who feel it is embedded effectively fell by 1.9% to 48%.

According to a recent Nonprofit Trends Report from Salesforce, 69% of nonprofits reported sharing data across departments as difficult. The challenge ahead is how to embed developments born out of necessity to continue to be able to deliver services effectively and ensure an organisational understanding and appreciation at all levels of the importance of digital.

Resources

Key takeaways

  • The number who felt that others’ perception of the value of their role had increased during 2021 fell by 9.1% on the previous year to 52.6%. This is almost back to the 2019 figure of 51.1%. “…people still don’t understand the role of comms. Even after demonstrating our worth in the pandemic.”
  • People working at super-large charities are more optimistic about how their roles are perceived – 65.7% think comms are more valued by others at their org than in the past year.
  • “It’s always hard to push for greater recognition of marketing and comms roles when charities are losing money and many people don’t see the immediate benefit to greater experience within organisations. The general view is that all funds should be directed towards the cause rather than enhancing the employee experience and brand recognition etc.”
  • While the number of people telling us digital is part of their role increased, those who feel digital is not effectively embedded within their organisation rose by 3.4% to 24.5% (the number of those who feel it is embedded effectively fell by 1.9% to 48%).

Section 5

Representation

Representation continues to be a big challenge for charity communications. Two years ago, in our 2019 Salary and Organisational Culture Report, one conclusion was that “our workforce doesn’t represent the demographics of the UK, never mind the communities with which we work.” Unfortunately, the data we collected this year suggest the picture in charity communications remains pretty similar.

Even though we used a non-probability sampling method for our survey, the composition of the sample shed some light about the characteristics of comms teams in charities. Data showed that 81.28% of respondents of our 2021 survey identifed as White British, while the other 11.28% asserted they belong to other white backgrounds (White Irish and others). The rest of the sample was composed of mixed, Asian, Black and other backgrounds.

Inequalities are still prevalent in the sector as well as the general world of work. A Global Mapping Survey from the Racial Equity Index found that 65% of workers in the aid sector said they had experienced racism and 98% of those had witnessed racism. Applicants from minority ethnic backgrounds have to send 60% more applications to get a positive response from an employer than white British candidates, according to a study published by the Centre for Social Investigation at Nuffield College.

A recent report from Gingerbread showed how single parents were the most impacted by the pandemic compared to married parents and workers without children. Working hours and payments for single parents have shrunk more than other workers over the last two years and they have been more at risk of losing their jobs or being furloughed. A similar situation has faced people with disabilities. A report from Citizens Advice found that people with disabilities were more likely to face redundancy and furlough during 2020, which might have affected their presence in the job market during 2021. These findings may explain why our data shows that the perception of representation of single parents and people with disabilities in charities has dropped during the last year.

“We should be careful not to make assumptions about other people and their circumstances – an easy mistake to make when we often work with colleagues who look and talk like ourselves.”

– Alan Lally-Francis, head of influencing at ACEVO, talking in Third Sector

The sector has continued to make efforts to address inequalities in recruitment, with a recent survey showing that one in ten charity recruiters have set diversity targets, such as encouraging bias training, revising policies or moving to anonymous recruitment. Charities are also signing up to campaigns such as #MyNameIs and the Halo Hair Code to create more inclusion in the workplace.

Javed Thomas (pronounced Jaah Vhed  Tom- aahs)

Javed Thomas (pronounced Jaah Vhed Tom- aahs)

Founder & Director, Race Equality Matters

#MyNameIs is a movement to ensure everyone pronounces people’s names correctly by adding phonetic pronunciation of your name to your email signature and other communication channels. We spoke to Javed Thomas from Race Equality Matters about the impact of the campaign and why it’s so important.

“It can be very easy for organisations to report about how much they are doing across the diversity and inclusion space, but often they’re not really talking about the difference they make. For example, has it improved their staff wellbeing? It can be easy to send staff on training but more difficult to then monitor the difference that it’s made.

At Race Equality Matters we talk to those affected by inequality, look at the barriers for change and identify and co-create solutions, one of which is the #MyNameIs campaign.

An example of how inequality can easily happen is when someone is chairing a meeting, especially with people they don’t know and whose names they’re not so familiar with. What will typically happen is that the person will either mumble someone’s name, or get it wrong and keep getting it wrong. The majority of people will not challenge back, especially if they are more junior or lacking in confidence. So already in that meeting there are some individuals being excluded. They are already starting off on the back foot, and as a result feel that can’t be their whole selves.

For anyone who wants to truly be inclusive, the most obviously thing to start with is someone’s name. When we phonetically spell names, there is no one correct way, but if you see it phonetically then it can help people to have more of a chance of getting it right. People are encouraged to be more careful, to take time to notice, and the onus is switching to the person to ask to check. It’s no longer on the person who is being disadvantaged all the time, which creates a culture of ‘them’ and ‘us.’

73% of people told us that their names are mispronounced and all of them said it had a negative effect. Any abbreviation or change to your name should be made by choice, not because you want to avoid making other people uncomfortable.

We’ve heard stories about people who have been working with colleagues for two or three years and are only now just realising they’ve been getting it wrong. The “wow” factor is very powerful and just because you don’t get challenged doesn’t meant that you’re right.

95% of people we spoke to think that phonetic spelling will make a huge difference. If we care, then there is no excuse not to do this. You can make a change overnight and it’s an opportunity for leaders to lead by example. Organisations and individuals who have implemented #MyNameIs have already noticed a significant change in their culture. It also reaches out into charity audiences and communities, making them feel safer and more welcome by changing the dynamic and getting people’s names right from the very beginning.”

Closing the pay gap

Our survey showed that, while pay gaps around gender and disabilities within the charity sector are not as large as within the UK workforce as a whole, there continues to be inequalities around levels of pay.

On average, women working in charity communications earn £5,183 less than men working in the sector. The salary gender gap has closed since last year, down to 12% from last year’s figure of 15.6%. This figure is also lower than the average gender pay gap in the UK, which was 15.4% for all workers in 2021 according to the Office for National Statistics.

The Office for National Statistics estimates that the overall pay gap in the UK is around 14%. The average gender pay gap in charities has gone down by 0.6% over the past four years to 10.6% in favour of men.

Research by the Living Wage Foundation shows that when it comes to the living wage, 13% of men earn less than the real living wage which increases to 19% of women.

“We deserve to be paid more money! My experience is one of a very real gender pay gap, with male colleagues at either the same or a lower seniority level earning £5k+ more than me.”

– Digital manager in the South East working for a large charity based in London

Although the gender pay gap has fallen overall in the UK by approximately a quarter over the last decade, there still remains a larger pay gap between employees aged over 40 and those below 40. Those who earn more also experience a much larger difference in salary depending on their gender.

ACEVO’s Pay and Equalities 2021 report showed that the average salary among charity chief executives rose by 3.6% over the past year, while the gender pay gap for CEOs fell from 12.1% in favour of men last year to 7.6% in 2021. Women now make up 36% of chief executives at the largest charities, compared with 29% two years ago.

“We need salary transparency to become the norm across the sector to bridge the gender pay gap.”

– Part-time senior manager covering all areas at a large charity in London

According to a recent report from the Trade Unions Congress (TUC), UK workers with disabilities earn on average £3,458 less a year than those without disabilities. Our survey revealed that people with disabilities working in charity communications earn on average £1,155 less than their colleagues without disabilities.

Our data showed that during 2021, salaries grew in Wales, Scotland and most of the regions of England, except in the North West and North East. Unsurprisingly, London has the highest average salary per region at £42,356, while the lowest are located in the North East (£27,565) and Yorkshire(£29,842).

Unfortunately, due to the sample’s composition, we don’t have enough data to analyse pay gaps related to ethnicity.

Additional tables around representation

The percentage of those who said they don’t know whether their organisation has policies and procedures around harassment increased in 7.25% between 2020 and 2021.

Resources

Section 6

Personal development

When it comes to the benefits that people value, flexibility stands out as key. The number of people saying that the most valuable benefit is flexible working hours rose by more than 10% to 20.2%.

Support for professional development came in as the third most highly valued benefit and, encouragingly, people said that overall they had more opportunities for training devleopment over the past 12 months. The number of people who told us they had training and development opportunities booked in for the next 12 months rose by 10% to 37%.

Webinars were again the most popular form of training, with 72% of people saying they had attended one or more over the past year. Those saying they had participated in a training course increased by almost 10% since last year, to 61%.

When it came to other benefits received, childcare vouchers, season tickets loan and support for professional development have decreased over the last three years. Those receiving pension contributions dropped by 7.15% to 78.9%, despite pension contributions being listed as the second highest benefit of value among respondents.

The number of people who receive paid overtime or time off in lieu increased by 2.2% to 76.5%.

Resources

Section 7

Priorities, careers and the future

The past two years have been all about change and the Great Attrition has been reported to affect workers across industry, location and demographics. According to LinkedIn, an “astonishing” two-thirds of workers in the UK say they are considering changing jobs in 2022.

In general, job candidates are now viewing 1.5 times as many jobs as they did in 2019 before applying, while job vacancies in the charity sector are again reaching pre-pandemic levels. The number of job roles submitted to the CharityComms jobs board increased by 83% during 2021 to 947 (from 517 in 2020).

Although all indicators are that it’s a candidate’s market, the figures around how charity communicators feel about changing roles are very similar to last year, with 36.6% saying they are planning a career move in the next 12 months, and 49% saying they don’t have plans for change but would consider it for the right role.

“[Salaries] are too low and don’t attract people from other industries, or people with experience, who would bring real ambition and drive to the sector.”

– Digital manager working for a medium London charity

The number of people saying that they are not likely to stay in charity communications for the next five years increased by less than 1% to 13.9%.

People who say it’s not likely or that they definitely won’t stay in charity communications in the next five years have, on average, lower salaries in comparison with those who expect to continue working in the field. Again, this speaks to appreciation, feeling able to contribute effectively and make a difference.

“I recognise that my organisation pays much better than other charities, which keeps me working here for the foreseeable, but ultimately I think I will be forced out of charity if I want to progress.

– Executive/officer working full-time in communications at a large charity in London.

On a positive note, more people than last year believe that their current role is helping them to progress their longer-term career.

When it comes to where people are looking for jobs, sector-specific job boards again came out on top at 82% although that showed a drop of 5.6% on last year’s figure. Those preferring to use recruitment consultancies also dropped slightly, from 36.2% last year to 33% in 2021.

Insights from Charity People on London weighting and how this relates to home-based roles

Working from home increasingly become standard following the pandemic, which saw a fundamental shift in working patterns, and many job-seekers now view home working for at least some of the week as a prerequisite to undertaking a role. Charities have been responding to this and many now offer either full-time home working or a hybrid arrangement.

As more organisations move to a model where a postholder needs to be in London a minimal amount of time, we’re finding that applications are increasingly coming from candidates from a wider geographical area. One of the many questions that charities need to consider when recruiting from this larger pool is how and when to apply financial weightings to roles, particularly for positions where the postholder is based in traditionally more expensive areas of the country, such as London.

Charities are tackling this question in different ways. Some are offering a London-based weighting to those living in, and therefore working from home in, the capital, regardless of whether this person is based in a physical office location at any point. Others are recruiting for roles on a purely home-based arrangement, potentially offering a smaller home-based allowance and removing London weighting entirely because the postholder will not need to be in a physical office location at any point.

Both responses come with pitfalls around remaining inclusive as well as competitive in terms of salary. Considerations when building a policy include asking whether removing London weighting excludes candidates in traditionally experience-rich but high-cost areas from applying for roles.

This could therefore impact on diversity and inclusivity as well as meaning that roles are more difficult to fill. If London weighting is included, should charities also consider a cost-of-living weighting for employees based in other areas that are increasingly higher priced? And where do the geographical lines get drawn?

Section 8

Key takeaways and conclusions

Figures have shown that a quarter of charities lost at least 40% of their income in the year from 2019 to 2020. These sorts of financial pressures, coupled with increasing economic inequality and the resulting rise in demand for services, means a very real operational struggle ahead for many organisations. With pressure to deliver more for less, salaries typically take a hit, with comms often being one of the less valued areas.

The importance of maintaining stability and offering real support to our teams to ensure they feel valued is highlighted throughout our survey data.

16% of companies globally are working 100% remotely, a figure that’s only increasing every day. Offering remote and flexible working not only opens up a wider talent pool, it also helps to remove inequalities and barriers to work. However, good intentions are not enough – organisations also need to invest in the right resources, systems and tools to make sure their people are able to work effectively and happily.

“There is no right way to do this – different situations, circumstances and organisations will need different things.”

– Becky Hewitt, chair of the Flexible Working Group, writing in Third Sector

Providing flexible and remote working can not just allow organisations to attract a wider pool of talent, it also equalises opportunities for employees to be heard and seen. Flexible working better supports people with caregiving responsibilities, bypasses location bias and reduces the amount of time and energy required to conform to biased standards of professionalism.

Change doesn’t happen overnight and there is no right or wrong formula for success, but being open, listening, adapting and leading with compassion can be the basis for a more effective and sustainable working culture. After a turbulent time of change, organisations need to remain committed to providing their teams with the structure, resources and support they need to be their best selves, do their best work, and look after themselves and each other.

Section 9

Methodology and additional data tables

Research design

The Salary and Organisational Culture Survey 2021 is a quantitative descriptive analysis which aims to review the salary levels and workplace culture of those working in charity marketing and communications.

An online self-administered questionnaire was created to collect information around this topic. The questionnaire was based on the previous CharityComms salary and organisational culture surveys, in order to allow comparisons between different years. Additional questions were included to explore the changes in the job market and work practises due to COVID-19.

Sampling and data collection

The population of interest for this survey were people working in communications at charities in the UK. Since the sample frame with details of all those individuals is unknown, a snowball sampling was applied. Participants were invited via email and social media either to fill in the questionnaire or share it. The invitation was sent to the CharityComms members database and was shared with different networks and coalitions of charities across the country.

Data was collected between 1 November and 12 December 2021. In order to filter-out respondents who did not meet the inclusion criteria, we added the following question at the beginning of the survey: Do you work in communications in the charity/third sector? A total of 495 individuals participated in the survey. Respondents who did not work at charity communications were removed from the database.

The final sample was composed of 445 cases with the following characteristics:

Gender:
73.3% female
15,1% male
2.0% non-binary
0.2% not listed
0.7% rather not to say

Location:
London/Greater London: 43.8%
South East: 13.7%
Midlands: 6.5%
Scotland: 5.6%
South West: 4.7%
North West: 4.7%
Wales: 2.7%
North East: 2.5%
East of England: 2.5%
Yorkshire: 2.0%
Other: 2.5%
Prefer not to say: 8.8%

Seniority;
CEO: 0.98%
Director: 8.68%
Head of: 18.63%
Senior Manager: 9.80%
Manager/Lead: 31.37%
Senior executive/officer: 7.60%
Executive/Officer: 22.30%
Assistant: 2.45%

Working hours:
Full-time: 80.39%
Part-time: 18.87%
Zero hours contract: 0.74%

Type of employment:
Permanent: 84.96%
Contract: 9.79%
Temporary/interim: 1.43%
Freelance: 3.34%
Other: 0.48%

Data analysis

Before data analysis, all responses were anonymised to keep confidentiality. Then, a descriptive analysis was performed, to identify variables of interest for. After that, a more focused univariate analysis was conducted and, in some specific cases, bivariate analysis was performed in order to explore relations among two variables of interest.

Get in touch

If you have any questions about the survey please email Alexis.

*Please note: there may be anomalies in the data with a high number of categories, as sometimes there are not always enough responses for an accurate result.

Additional data tables

Working hours showed a decrease in full-time roles of 2.6% with an increase of 1.87% in part-time roles.