EmployerOne Survey and the Workforce in the Nonprofit Sector: Media Release

Media Contacts

Paul Seale, Membership Engagement Manager, Pillar Nonprofit Network

519-859-7672; pseale@pillarnonprofit.ca

Emilian Siman, Executive Director, Workforce Planning and Development Board

519 672 3499 x 103; emilian@workforcedevelopment.ca 

Related webinar: Filling the Data Gap: What Labour Market Information can tell us about the nonprofit sector (Pillar/WPDB), Monday, October 31, 9-10am EDT


New Report Shows Area Nonprofits Face Steep Workforce Recovery

Local organizations to present data Monday revealing a struggling nonprofit sector is having difficulty attracting, hiring, and retaining qualified workers.

LONDON, ON. October 28, 2022 – A collaboration between the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (WPDB) and Pillar Nonprofit Network (Pillar) reveals that employers in the London region’s nonprofit sector have been facing severe human resources challenges, including greater difficulty in hiring and retaining qualified workers than other employers. Sector employers and advocates have long noted precarious work and wage disparity as challenges in the sector, and the findings show that these conditions are being felt locally. Analysts from the two organizations plan to co-present their findings in a webinar Monday, October 31

In March 2022, the WPDB released a “results reveal” of responses from the most recent regional EmployerOne Survey, available on the WPDB website here, where employers were able to report on year two of the pandemic and assess their prospects for this year. Subsequently, Pillar and the WPDB released a more specific analysis of care economy employers’ responses showing the specific workforce challenges faced by that subsector, results that help explain headline stories about service cutbacks at hospitals and bolster the case for investment in care workers.

As promised at that time,  the two organizations have now analyzed the responses of nonprofit employers in London and the surrounding counties, showing that workforce conditions are challenging for all sectors and especially difficult for nonprofits. 

Among the key findings:

  • Almost two-thirds of separations in the nonprofit sector were layoffs, whereas layoffs only accounted for 14% of separations in other sectors.
  • Only one third of separations in the nonprofit sector in 2021 were quits as compared to 72% quits and retirements for other employers, 15% dismissals, 12% temporary layoffs, and only 2% permanent layoffs. 
  • Hires by nonprofits were less likely to be for permanent positions (46% vs 62%) and more likely to be contract positions (38% Vs 21%). Additionally, if permanent, nonprofit positions were less likely to be full-time and so still more precarious for hirees.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of nonprofit employers indicated that they see retention as “a concern” for their organizations
  • Only 36% of nonprofit employers indicated regular increases in salary – the third most selected – as a retention strategy, whereas other employers chose salary increases most often (46%).
  • Nonprofit employers were more likely to identify “inability to compete with other employers (wage, benefits, profile)” than other employers, with 21% of respondents selecting this reason, second among all the choices. For other employers, this was the 4th most chosen reason at 16%.

“Since there’s wide disagreement about whether things like ‘The Great Resignation’ are really happening in Canada, we wanted to see whether those big workforce narratives were happening in the London region and how they might affect the local nonprofit sector and our member organizations,” Pillar writes on its news page. “Among the things we found is that when organizations lost employees, it was mostly due to layoffs and so, we might presume, with some reluctance on both sides. That is, local nonprofits weren’t able to support the workforce they had. This is something sector organizations have been struggling with for years and that has been made so much worse with the disruption of the pandemic.”

Emilian Siman of the Workforce Planning and Development Board highlights the value of being responsive to community requests like this. “The growing partnership between Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board and Pillar Nonprofit Network during 2022 led to the discovery of otherwise hidden and very valuable labour market information collected locally through the Employer One Survey. The most recent gem, polished together, is a comparative analysis of this survey’s responses of nonprofit vs. other employers. This kind of  insight is much appreciated by local leadership and the public because of the decisional support it provides. In time, we expect more to result from this wonderful collaboration.”

“As with our combined report on the challenges facing care economy employers,” the Pillar news post reads, “the new information can help inform regional recovery. In combination with data we’re collecting locally from our members and province-wide data we’re collecting with the Ontario Nonprofit Network, we’re seeing a funding and regulatory environment that creates the conditions of precarious work. It means that, despite some good intentions in policy-making, like $10-a-day daycare, micro-sectors that require highly skilled and credentialed people but can’t provide decent work will face a steeper recovery curve. The good intentions will have to be backed up by funding and policy support or we won’t get the good outcomes we’re envisioning.” 

Pillar plans to use this data to inform advocacy to all levels of government, especially London City Council and the London Community Recovery Network. 

The full findings are available on Pillar’s website here and the report with illustrations is available on the WPDB website here

About Pillar Nonprofit Network:

Pillar Nonprofit Network strengthens individuals, organizations and enterprises invested in positive community impact in London and Southwestern Ontario. Through a heightened equity lens, we support charities, nonprofits, for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises, social innovators, and social financiers by sharing resources, exchanging knowledge, and creating meaningful connections across the three pillars of nonprofit, business, and government. We believe that a connected network sparks collaboration and helps to build an engaged, inclusive, and vibrant community. Learn more at pillarnonprofit.ca

About Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board:The Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board (WPDB) works to provide stakeholders with quality labour market information to make decisions which result in a thriving, viable economy. WPDB has over 20 labour market information tools on their website to assist all of whom we serve within the Elgin Middlesex and Oxford region to make better, more informed decisions. View the tools and past reports at www.workforcedevelopment.ca.