Nonprofit Job Seekers Want For-Profit Deals

April 15, 2008       Michele Donohue      

The job market might be tightening, but jobseekers still have high expectations before they sign up with the social sector.

In a recent survey by Commongood Careers, job candidates wanted to find a nonprofit job where they felt culturally connected to the organization’s cause, but still wanted the employment incentives and substantial career development characteristics of for-profit companies.

Commongood Careers, a Boston-based nonprofit search firm founded by former nonprofit employees, conducted a 25-question survey to qualitatively measure what jobseekers want from a nonprofit and compiled the information from 1,750 participants into a report titled, The Voice of Nonprofit Talent in 2008.

“We have to understand the needs of jobseekers. We wanted to provide insight to companies,” said Dana Hagenbuch, Commongood’s marketing and communications director. Responders ranked a “collaborative” working environment as the number-one ideal nonprofit characteristic, followed by “results-oriented” and “strategic.”

“Cultural fit really rose to the top. It’s what is really driving people to the sector,” said Hagenbuch.

Some 70 percent of jobseekers responded that “salary levels” were their primary concern with nonprofit employment. Besides salary and health care coverage, 45 percent put “vacation policies” as a high-ranking priority when looking at a job.

Respondents also said that working at a nonprofit would affect their chances of climbing the career ladder. Some 82 percent of respondents wanted to reach an executive-level role in their careers, with 66 percent responding that they are currently looking for a high-ranking job or would be in a few years.

More than 75 percent of those surveyed thought that nonprofits “had to immediately change” their techniques in recruitment and employment. Commongood advised nonprofits to develop an employer brand and create a framework to challenge employees to become more marketable to jobseekers.

“There are people who are willing to take over and lead, but they are not sure if they have the right opportunities to enhance their career in professional development opportunities and career path tracks,” said Hagenbuch.  “You have to market yourself as an employer selling your organization to potential employees. Hiring is a two-way street.”  NPT

For the full report from Commongood Careers, visit http://www.cgcareers.org