November 14, 2018
Massachusetts Nonprofits Will Hire Staff Over the Next Year

August 29, 2017 —Massachusetts nonprofits, like their national counterparts, plan to hire more staff over the near term, but Bay State nonprofits will not be hiring at the same rate as organizations elsewhere, recently completed surveys indicate.

According to a survey from Nonprofit HR, a human resources firm that works exclusively with the nonprofit sector, 50% of nonprofits across the country plan to hire in 2017 (down seven percentage points from 2016). Nonprofits have been hiring more aggressively than for-profits for the last several years and that will continue, as 40% of for-profit companies planning to hire in 2017, up four percentage points over last year.

Massachusetts nonprofits also plan to hire, although at lesser rate.

According to a survey of 342 organizations across southern New England, including 141 in Massachusetts, results of which were released last month by TSNE MissionWorks (TSNE), a Boston-based nonprofit that provides management resources to other nonprofits, 38% of respondents said their organization plans to increase the number of full-time equivalent employees in the year ahead.

Nationally, most nonprofits are not improving their talent and culture practices in order to thrive in the face of growing competition. According to Nonprofit HR, 64% of 420 nonprofits surveyed reported they do not have a formal recruitment strategy, 81% reported they do not have a formal retention strategy and 52% reported they do not have a formal diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy.

In addition, the national survey found that:
  • 64% of nonprofits do not have a formal recruitment strategy.
  • 56% of nonprofits have no plans to change the way they source for talent in 2017.
  • 28% of nonprofits cite an inability to hire qualified staff within a limited budget as their top staffing challenge in 2017.
In Massachusetts, the TSNE survey found:
  • 61% of nonprofits expect more competition from their colleagues and businesses in attracting and retaining the "best and brightest" employees over the next year.
  • 38% said they view turnover as a "significant problem" in the year ahead.
  • 8% expect their organization will operate under a an employee salary freeze over the next year.
Seven percent of Massachusetts respondents said their nonprofit is currently operating under a temporary hiring freeze, but 55% of those plan to lift the freeze in the year ahead.

If Massachusetts nonprofits reflect organizations nationally, they likely have more work to do with respect to retaining staff. The national survey found that:
  • 81% of nonprofits do not have a formal retention strategy.
  • 27% of nonprofits have plans to develop a formal retention strategy in 2017.
  • 11% of nonprofits said they expected their total turnover rate to increase in 2017, while 59% said they expected it to stay the same.
"With social enterprises and purpose-driven businesses experiencing tremendous growth, it is only going to get more difficult for nonprofits to attract and retain the top performers they need to advance their missions," said Lisa Brown Alexander, CEO of Nonprofit HR. "The time for organizations to get serious about recruitment, retention, culture and human capital is now."

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