Lack of diversity continues to blight top charity roles, research reveals

Trustees treat female CEOs worse than their male counterparts and charity professionals from BAME backgrounds and those with health conditions continue to miss out on top roles, a report has revealed.

The findings have emerged in ACEVO’s Pay And Equalities 2020 report and come as some charities have looked to tackle discrimination across their organisation and recruitment in recent months.

ACEVO found that male chief executives are more likely than their female counterparts to have an annual appraisal. More than a third (37%) of men benefit from this annual review, compared to less than a quarter of women (23%).

While almost three quarters (73%) of male CEOs receive feedback from their chair, the proportion dips to just 62% among women in the top job at charities.

In addition, the vast majority (94%) of charity CEOs are white. Only 2% are from mixed backgrounds, 1% from Asian and Asian British backgrounds and 1% are from black, African, Caribbean and Black British backgrounds.

Only 16% of respondents have an impairment, health condition or learning difference. This is a similar proportion as in 2017, says ACVEO.

Eight out of ten CEOs identify as heterosexual, around the same proportion as in 2017 and 2018.

Lack of progress

The report found that overall there has also been little progress in support CEOs receive from charity boards. In 2020, 32% of all CEOs had a formal appraisal, similar to 2005’s figure of 34%.

The median CEO salary is £55,993, the highest since 2013 but lower than 2006/7’s survey, when the figure was £57,640.

“Many of the challenges found in this year’s Pay and Equalities Survey are not new but faster progress needs to be made to tackle them,”said ACEVO CEO Vicky Browning.

“The response to lockdown from charities has been inspirational and it has also shown the speed at which change can happen if it is deemed to be essential. I hope that as we look to build back better, this also includes strengthening support and professional development, and building truly inclusive, representative cultures.”

Earlier this month ACEVO policy head Kristiana Wrixon delivered stinging criticism on the lack of diversity and inclusion within charity policy teams.

In August the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) created a board level diversity committee to tackle its own “structurally racist organisation”.

There is a raft of resources and organisations available to help charities tackle a lack of diversity, equity and inclusion, including addressing issues such as unconscious bias in recruitment.

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