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Pay and Equalities Survey 2020: the key findings

A narrated version of this blog is available at the bottom of the page

We last published our Pay and Equalities Survey in March 2019, with data from 2018. In response to feedback about when the data would be useful to inform budgeting, we took the decision to move the publication date to September. This year’s survey was completed by 476 respondents, slightly lower than in previous years. The data covers charity leaders from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and includes data from leaders at charities of all sizes. This blog outlines some of the headline findings from the report. You can purchase the full report here.

Pay and Equalities Survey 2020 front cover
Pay and Equalities Survey 2020 front cover

The pay picture remains broadly similar, and CEO pay remains lower than it was over a decade ago. The median salary of CEOs across organisations of all sizes has increased, to £55,993. There are notable differences depending on organisational size, however: charities with an income of between £250-500k saw a drop in median salaries, from £42,000 in 2018 to £40,500 in 2020. The number of CEOs with a regular salary review increased to 51%; if this trend can be continued in future years, this is a welcome development. There is still some way to go however, as 39% of respondents still reported no regular review of their salary.

The situation around reviewing CEO performance remained fairly static; 56% of respondents have an annual appraisal of their performance, compared to 53% in 2018. However, just under a third (32%) still reported having no regular appraisal. Only 10% said they had an appraisal more than once a year. This was most pronounced in smaller charities, where 40% reported having no regular appraisal, indicating that there is clearly a need for some parts of the sector to prioritise regular feedback for those working at a senior level.

The survey asked more generally about personal development opportunities. Just 21% of respondents reported having a personal development plan, and just under half (46%) had no current statement of delegated authorities. The most common forms of personal development respondents accessed were workshops/seminars and conferences, at 66% and 62% respectively. Around 7% of respondents continue to report that they have not accessed any personal development support recently. However, it is important to note that over 90% of respondents overall said they were members of either ACEVO, ACOSVO or CO3. The majority of respondents therefore already have access to personal development opportunities via their membership bodies, which may not be reflected across the sector.

It was most common for CEOs to receive feedback on their performance from board chairs (67%) and other trustees (48%). However, it is unusual for board members to ask for feedback on their performance in return. Just 29% of respondents said that their chairs and 16% of other board members had requested feedback from the CEO and staff, which continues to indicate that some charities may not encourage cultures of mutual learning and feedback at the highest levels.

Finally, this was the first time we asked respondents about whether they felt their wellbeing in the role was considered by their boards. Just over half of respondents (54%) felt their board prioritised their wellbeing in the role; however 14% disagreed and almost a third (30%) neither agreed nor disagreed. This is a mixed picture, and demonstrates a need for a more open conversation about mental health across the sector. ACEVO’s work with Mental Health First Aid on CEO and workforce wellbeing will launch as part of #ACEVOFest, with a report and discussion chaired by Jules Hillier from Pause. You can buy your tickets to join the session, and access many other great discussions and seminars, here.

Broadly, the survey shows that in some areas of governance, progress has reached a standstill. There is a need for chairs and trustees to make a firmer commitment to their management responsibilities, especially considering the significant strains coronavirus has placed not only on organisational resource but on CEO wellbeing. The issues the survey raises are not new, but there is an opportunity as organisations recover to implement overdue changes which will make the sector and its leaders stronger in the future.

Narrated by a member of the ACEVO staff

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