Exclusive: Staffing and recruitment main concern for 50% of charity CEOs

Staffing and recruitment is the biggest challenge facing just under half of charity CEOs, according to an exclusive survey by Charity Times.

The Charity Leadership Survey 2022 revealed 48.6% of charity CEOs find staffing and recruitment the single biggest challenge facing their charities right now.

Leaders responding to the survey said they had struggled to recruit (80%), with just 14.5% stating ‘no real change’ in recruitment.

The second biggest challenge for leaders is funding (34.3%), the survey found. Governance, overload and leadership were cited as other areas of concern for many leaders.

The inaugural leadership survey heard from 70 CEOs of charities from across the sector on the issues affecting charity leadership today.

Recruitment and staffing has been a prominent area of concern for charities over the past year as the pandemic has left many workers reluctant to leave stable roles.

Employment website CharityJob previously found the number of applicants for each role had fallen by more than three quarters over the last year. Care charities and housing associations have also warned government ministers they are facing “the most acute recruitment and retention crisis” in their history.

Burnout has also been cited as a contributing factor to the crisis, which has tarnished workplaces as staffers struggle to cope with increased workloads, the threat of redundancy and little respite.

A recent job satisfaction survey from employment research platform, New Possible, found almost six in ten charity workers want to resign and find a new job.

It found 59% of charity workers want to quit, the highest of any sector. The average across all sectors and industries is 40%.

These figures exist despite the voluntary sector having one of the highest rates of job satisfaction. Only the creative arts, and business management have higher career satisfaction levels, New Possible said.

An unhealthy culture was the top reason for employees to want to leave (cited by 27% of workers across all sectors in New Possible’s job satisfaction survey). Poor leadership (23%), was the next biggest reason for quitting, with poor work life balance and high workload cited by around one in ten workers as other concerns.

“High levels of job satisfaction do not always result in high employee retention,” said a spokesperson for New Possible.

“For example, although employees working in the charity sector are among the most satisfied, they’re also the most likely to search for a new job. Conversely, those working in social care are the least satisfied and one of the least likely to look for a new job.”

CEO turnover

Turnover among charity CEOs has also been extremely high in the past couple of years as a result of increased pressure during the pandemic.

Charity Times research has found CEOs of the largest charities are staying in posts for less time and moving around and out of the charity sector much more frequently than they were pre-pandemic.

The Charity Leadership Survey 2022 found over half of leaders don’t feel they get enough support (56.5%), which could be part of the reason for the lack of stability.

Despite this, survey respondents appear to have good relationships with those within their organisation and peers from across the sector, with findings showing that 81.4% of leaders talk to other CEOs regularly and just under half (45.7%) of leaders have a strong relationship with their board (a rating of five out of five).

Only three people said their CEO/board relationship should be rated as a one or two out of five respectively.

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