Many charity CEOs overworked; trustees must take duty of care seriously, ACEVO says

Charity chief executives work an average of three months a year for free, a new ACEVO survey has revealed.

The ACEVO annual Pay and Equalities Survey 2019 has revealed CEOs work on average 10 additional hours per week, equivalent to around three months a year.

ACEVO chief executive Vicky Browning claims this can “seriously impact wellbeing and even lead to burnout”, highlighting the need for trustees to ensure they take seriously their duty of care to the CEO as well as to beneficiaries.

"Most CEOs in our sector see leading their organisations as a privilege. Long hours are often accepted as a symptom of limited resources facing unlimited demand. But working an extra one and a half days over the standard five can seriously impact wellbeing and even lead to burnout,” she said.

Many CEOs are also being paid less than when the survey first began, with the average salary standing at £52,000, compared to a high of £60,000 in 2013.

Furthermore, the survey found over a third of charity CEOs (35%) have no regular appraisal. This improves as the organisation size grows, with only 16% of large charities but 44% of small charity CEOs having no appraisal.

However, 68% of small charities offer flexible working compared to only 46% of charities with an income of over 15m, results showed.

Diversity continues to be an issue among charity leaders, with BAME respondents accounting for just 6 per cent, despite one quarter of respondents residing in London, which has a higher percentage of BAME residents than the country as a whole.

The number of disabled CEOs was also under representative, and despite the number of female respondents having increased, the data indicates this is broadly limited to white, non-disabled women.

The survey found there still remains a gender pay gap of 13.8%. ACEVO said It is not possible to identify a reason for this but cumulatively slightly more male CEOs in large charities, in older age brackets and with post-graduate qualifications may be having an effect.

“It is positive to see the percentage of female CEOs better reflect the voluntary sector workforce. But as in previous years the percentage of female and male BAME CEOs is too low, as is the number of disabled CEOs,” Browning said.

“The Pay and Equalities survey shows us that more needs to be done ensure all charities are supportive and inclusive workplaces that enable CEOs and staff to thrive and better meet their charitable mission.”

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