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Gender Pay Gap Narrows at U.S. Charities, But Still Remains Unequal

(Nov. 7, 2005) A new study reveals that the compensation of female charity CEO's has increased faster than, but still lags behind, those of their male counterparts.

According to the study, female CEO's at charities with budgets of $50 million or more reported increased earnings of 43 percent. In contrast, male CEO's at that same budget level, however, only reported increased earnings of 17 percent.

The GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, conducted by GuideStar.org and released this September, analyzed and compared compensation data from more than 83,000 public charities in fiscal year 2003.

Women CEO's at charities with budgets of $25 million to $50 million also reported strong increases. They experienced a 35 percent increase in compensation in 2003 compared to their male counterparts who only saw a 17 percent increase.

Charities with budgets of $500 thousand to $1 million showed the smallest increase, with the salaries for female CEO's increasing 3 percent in 2003, while the median salaries for males CEO's increased by 5 percent.

Pay Gap Narrows, but Remains Unequal

Despite these increases, men continue to earn more than their female counterparts, with the median salary for a male CEO of a charity with a budget of $50 million or more $332,985 compared to $262,275 for a female CEO.

Male CEO's at charities with budgets of $25 million to $50 million reported earnings of $206,002 compared to the median compensation for female CEO's at $173,300. This discrepancy holds true at all budget levels.

Interestingly, the pay gap is the smallest for charities with budgets of $250 thousand or less. Female CEO's reported median salaries of $32,448, while male CEO's earned $37,272. Broken down by budget level, the study compares median salaries for male and female CEO's in 2003:

  • $250 thousand or less: female $32,448; male $37,272
  • $250 thousand - $500 thousand: female $45,930; male $52,915
  • $500 thousand - $1 million: female $57,10; male $65,170
  • $1 million - $2.5 million: female $71,801; male $80,240
  • $2.5 million - $5 million: female $87,740; male $99,348
  • $5 million - $10 million: female $103,000; male $119,947
  • $10 million - $25 million: female $131,858; male $155,219
  • $25 million - $50 million: female $173,300; male $206,002
  • $50 million or more: female $262,275; male $332,985

The study also showed that men were also nearly five times more likely than women to hold the top position at charities with annual expenditures of $50 million or more. However, the number of female CEOs/executive directors at charities with budgets of $1 million or less was actually greater than the number male leaders at the same budget levels.

"This study reaffirms findings form AFP's 2004 Compensation and Benefits Study," says AFP president and CEO Paulette Maehara, CAE, CFRE. "While the gender gap is narrowing, there is still work to be done. These numbers, along with results form the Compensation and Benefits Study, reflect the continued disparity between male and female salaries in the nonprofit sector. However, as leaders of the philanthropic world, it is our duty to not only acknowledge these numbers, but also work close the gap by ensuring that all employees are compensated on their education, experience and qualifications, and not on their gender."

About the Study

GuideStar's fifth annual analysis of nonprofit compensation draws exclusively on fiscal year 2003 Form 990 data from more than 83,000 public charities. It examines compensation by gender, 14 job categories, 9 budget categories, 453 program categories, state and 264 geographical areas.

For more information on the study, visit the Guidestar website.



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