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Great Resignation? Survey Shows Not For Many NPOs

While for-profit firms across the nation were bleeding staff – 33 million people – during the so-called “Great Resignation,” social impact organizations reported a decrease in turnover from 21.3% in 2019 to 14.3% in 2020.

Even through many nonprofits are struggling to find certain staff, according to the consulting firm Nonprofit HR, data in its annual Nonprofit Talent Retention Survey shows social impact organizations had a decrease in both voluntary turnover (16.7% to 10.9%) and involuntary turnover (5.2% to 4.6%) from 2019 to 2020. A new retention survey will be conducted in the summer of 2022 to gather updated data on impact of turnover in social impact organizations given the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“While this data tells the story of the second half of 2020 and thus is a snapshot in time, it highlights the resilience of the social sector and its ability to hold on to talent during a really volatile time,” said Lisa Brown Alexander, Nonprofit HR President & CEO. “It also encourages us to use a wider lens when considering the Great Resignation because the data proves that you cannot paint a broad picture of its impact across all sectors.”

The data shows that of organizations reporting challenges in retaining staff, 30% reported female staff being the most challenging to retain and then men at 14%. Some 44% respondents the organization was not having trouble retaining staff.

When it came to age, staff younger than 30 were the most challenging to retain of organization having trouble keeping staff at 46%. That was followed by ages 31-49 at 29%. Staff older than 50 were sticking around with just 6% moving on, according to the data.

When it came to ethnicity and race, respondents who said they were challenged to retain staff cited the toughest group to keep were “Black or African Americans” at 23% followed by staff who identified as being of two or more races at 13%.

As one might expect, entry level staff were the hardest to keep at 45%, followed by mid-level staff at 35% and 5% cited senior staff. Some 45% respondents no challenges in any of the three segments. 

The toughest position to keep filled tended to be program at 34% and then operations/administration at 10%. Some 60% of the respondents track retention metrics.

For more of the statistics, go to nonprofithr.com

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