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Report details low salaries in human services sector

Contact: Bill Yelenak
Email: byelenak@providers.org
Phone: 617-428-3637 x122 (office) | 860-919-0369 (cell)

BOSTON – A new survey of small- and medium-sized nonprofit organizations shows that low-paid workers in the human and social services sectors experienced little wage growth and stagnant salaries over the past four years.

The Providers’ Council was among the nonprofit partners contributing to Third Sector New England’s report, Valuing Our Nonprofit Workforce 2014: A Compensation and Benefits Survey of and for Nonprofits in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Adjoining Communities. More than 31,000 people work at the 250 nonprofits that completed the survey, and Third Sector received data on more than 23,000 individuals salaries which was categorized into 134 job titles.

“This data represents an often overlooked portion of our nonprofit sector, small to midsized social justice organizations. These are small nonprofits with under $2 million in revenue and sometimes with fewer than five staff members,” said Third Sector New England Executive Director Jonathan Spack. “These groups individually are small but collectively make up a significant portion of our nonprofit workforce. The report and searchable database will help these groups and others develop fair and appropriate compensation and benefits practices to keep our nonprofit workforce thriving.”

And while some sectors reported significant increases to salaries, the human and social services sectors remain fairly flat. The median direct care counselor made $23,920 in 2010 and $24,357 in 2014, an increase of just 1.8 percent over a four-year period. Senior or adult program assistants went from $23,816 to $25,085, a 5.3 percent increase, and children or youth program assistants went from $24,586 to $26,291, a 6.9 percent increase. Over the four-year period, however, those increases are between 1.3 and 1.75 percent per year.

“Because of the state’s delays in implementing Chapter 257, the landmark human services rate-setting legislation that we worked to pass in 2008, direct care workers continue to receive low salaries and rarely see a salary increase that even keeps up with the cost of inflation,” said Providers’ Council President and CEO Michael Weekes. “This relevant survey provides more data-driven support for the Council’s efforts to lift salaries above $12 per hour so direct care workers can move toward a livable wage.”

More than 29 organizations submitted salary data for more than 5,800 employees who were classified as “direct care counselors,” according to the report. Ten organizations with 156 employees submitted salary data for “children or youth program assistant,” while 17 organizations with 522 employees submitted salary data for “senior or adult program assistant.”

Some other salary and benefit findings for the nonprofit sector as a whole include:

  • 66% of employees in participating organizations work full-time, while 34% work part-time.
  • Respondents reported annual voluntary turnover rates during the twelve months prior to the survey of 17% for full-time employees (12% in 2010) and 21% for part-time employees (11% in 2010). According to Third Sector New England: “As the economy improves, it is reasonable to surmise that employees feel increasingly comfortable making job or career changes that they may have avoided during the recession.”
  • Executive directors in 59% of the participating organizations are female.
  • 56% of the organizations reporting provide life insurance, and 73% of these pay 100 percent of the premium.
  • 90% of the groups that responded provide some type of health insurance to employees at an average cost to the organization of $628 per month. A full 12% of survey respondents pay 100% of the premiums for employees and a full 41% pay at least 20% of insurance premiums.

Media can access both the 2014 report and the 2010 report at the following link:

http://tsne.org/valuing-our-nonprofit-workforce

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About the Providers’ Council: The Providers’ Council (www.providers.org), also known as the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc., is the largest statewide membership association for community-based organizations providing social, rehabilitation, education and health care services. The organization’s mission is to promote a healthy, productive and diverse human services industry.

About Third Sector New England: Since its founding in 1959, Third Sector New England (www.tsne.org) has focused on building the knowledge, power and effectiveness of nonprofits, so they can better help communities leverage resources, solve problems, identify opportunities – and thrive. We use innovative models and strategies in our work to support organizations committed to social change.

The Providers' Council, also known as the Massachusetts Council of Human Service Providers, Inc., is the largest statewide membership association for community-based organizations providing social, rehabilitation, education and health care services.