Gender Pay Gap Narrowing, Long Way To Go

September 15, 2015       Mark Hrywna      

The gender pay gap among nonprofit CEOs is narrowing but fewer than one in five charities with budgets of $50 million or more are led by a female. Those are among the findings of the 2015 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report.

Released today, the report indicated that the gender pay gap ranged from 6 percent for CEOs at organizations with budgets of $250,000 or less to 23 percent at organizations with budgets of $2.5 million to $5 million. Female nonprofit CEOs earned 21 to 47 percent less than their male counterparts in fiscal years 1998 and 1999.

The 15th annual study analyzes compensation data reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by more than 105,400 nonprofits for fiscal year 2013. This is the 15th edition of GuideStar’s nonprofit compensation report, which first reported on the gender pay gap in 2001.

While the gender gap has narrowed, the percentage of female CEOs has decreased since 2003. “More women headed nonprofits with budgets greater than $10 million in 2013 compared to 2003. These gains, however, were offset by declines in smaller organizations,” said Chuck McLean, vice president for research at the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, and author of all 15 editions of the report. Even with the gain in larger organizations, only 18 percent of nonprofits with budgets of more than $50 million had female CEOs in 2013, he said.

The annualized change in CEO median salary from 2003 to 2013 ranged from 2 to 4.5 percent for females and 1.6 to 3.7 percent for males. The highest part of the range for both genders was at $50-million-plus nonprofits. In all but the smallest and largest organizations, the annualized change was greater for males than females.

The median increase in incumbent CEO compensation ranged from 1.3 to 3.8 percent for females and 0.4 to 3.7 percent for males. It’s the fifth consecutive year that the median increase failed to reach 4 percent or higher — levels seen before the Great Recession. Females generally received higher increases than males at organizations of most sizes although the difference was more marked at smaller organizations, according to the report.

Females continue to be more common among small organizations, representing the majority or near-majority among nonprofits of $1 million or more. In the decade from 2003 to 2013, the percentage has changed little in most budget groups but their representation still declined as organization size increased, with less than a quarter of nonprofits with budgets of $25 million or more headed by a female.

As usual, health and science organizations had the highest overall media salaries while arts, religion, and animal-related nonprofits were among the lowest. For the 10th consecutive year, Washington, D.C. ranked first for overall median CEO salary among the top 20 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the country:

  • Washington, D.C., $154,500
  • New York-New Jersey, $137,554
  • Boston, $133,586
  • San Francisco-Oakland, $111,116
  • Chicago, $107,202

Among the lowest MSAs by median CEO compensation were:

  • Atlanta, $87,326
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, $89,914
  • St. Louis, $90,215
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, $90,788
  • Detroit, $91,302

When adjusted for the Washington, D.C., cost of living, however, the lowest median compensation was found in Oakland, $89,997, and San Diego, $98,927.