McMillan Shakespeare Group

Investor Login
Print this page

MMSG business Maxxia release Not-For-Profit Sentiment Study

Employees at Australia’s 45,000 not-for-profit (NFP) organisations are generally happier and more satisfied with where they work and what they do than workers from other sectors, new research commissioned be Maxxia shows.

Employees at Australia's 45,000 not-for-profit (NFP) organisations are generally happier and more satisfied with where they work and what they do than workers from other sectors, new research shows.

However, NFPs also appear to be at greater risk of losing management staff based on findings from the research that indicate NFP managers are more likely to consider leaving their jobs than their counterparts in the broader total workforce. The research also reinforced that attracting and retaining employees remains one of the most significant challenges facing the NFP sector.

Among the findings of the Maxxia Workplace Insights 2013 Not-for-Profit Sentiment Study released today:

  • NFP workers more satisfied: 66% of NFP employees are very satisfied or extremely satisfied with their current role compared with 56% of total workforce employees

  • NFP managers are harder to keep: 50% of NFP managers have considered leaving their organisation compared with 36% of managers in the total workforce

  • NFPs appeal most to specific demographics: over-55s, women and part-timers are most drawn to the sector and once there are the most satisfied working in it

  • Attraction and departure 'perception gap': differences in opinion exist between what NFP HR leaders and NFP staff consider as key motivations to enter and exit the sector

Maxxia commissioned Sweeney Research to conduct a national study on the topic of engagement to support the NFP sector in its efforts to maximise staff attraction and retention. Over 1850 leaders and employees from the NFP sector and the broader total workforce participated in the research, which is understood to be a first of its type.

Maxxia CEO Michael Kay and Victorian Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge launched the study at an NFP sector forum in Melbourne today, where the key insights were presented and discussed by prominent community service and NFP leaders.

"Australia's not-for-profit sector plays a pivotal role in the delivery of vital services and support to a broad cross-section of the community including poor, sick, vulnerable and often disadvantaged individuals and families," Michael Kay said.

"Ensuring that the NFP sector can attract and retain the right mix of skilled and qualified staff is critical for its long-term sustainability. As a trusted partner for more than 20 years we have taken an active interest in the sector's challenges and through this initiative we were keen to gain greater insights for the sector into the attitudes, needs and motivations of its people.

"The results of the study are a number of key insights that consider why people join the NFP sector, what drives their intentions to stay, what would trigger a decision to leave, and which demographics are most pre-disposed to working in the sector."

NFP workers more satisfied

Maxxia's research established that NFP workers are essentially happier and more satisfied than their total workforce equivalents with 58% saying they are extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their current employer, compared with 51% of total workforce employees.

Similarly, when assessing role satisfaction, 66% of NFP employees stated they are extremely satisfied or very satisfied compared with just 56% of total workforce employees.

The study further identified that the strongest correlation with employer and job satisfaction involves the working environment, a sense of achievement and belonging, the level of enjoyment and recognition, with NFP employees outperforming the broader workforce across these drivers:

Satisfaction with key aspects of employment:

.

Working Environment

Sense of Achievement

Sense of Belonging

Level of Enjoyment

Level of Recognition

NFP Employees

81%

80%

78%

76%

67%

Total Workforce

72%

70%

67%

67%

62%


Conversely, the study also examined the primary drivers for staff to consider leaving their employer, with issues such as limited career paths, low wages, poor morale and management, and stress being common departure triggers across both NFPs and the total workforce.

NFP managers are harder to keep, attraction and retention remains challenging
Maxxia's study found 50% of NFP managers have considered leaving their organisation compared with 36% of total workforce managers, and that 34% of NFP managers have actively explored opportunities outside the organisation compared with some 26% of managers in the total workforce.

Perceptions around career prospects, performance targets and performance-improving feedback were areas where NFP managers' perceptions were below that of managers from the total workforce, indicating potential factors contributing to their heightened consideration of alternative jobs and opportunities.

Importantly, finding and retaining staff was also identified as one of the most significant challenges continuing to face the NFP sector. Some 45% of NFP HR leaders surveyed stated this as their foremost challenge, followed by a lack of funds (11%), finding suitable managers (9%) and managing staff morale (8%).

NFPs appeal most to specific demographics

Maxxia's study identified that three demographics appear to represent the best possible employment and retention prospects for NFPs based upon sentiments they expressed about working in the sector:

  • Women were more satisfied with their employer (58%) and role (67%) than men, and were also stronger Net Promoters of their current employer (plus 17%)

  • Workers aged 55 years and over were more satisfied with their employer (61%) and role (70%) than younger workers, and were also stronger Net Promoters of their current employer (plus 15%)

  • Part-timer's were more satisfied with their employer (63%) and their role (70%) than full-time and casual workers, and were also stronger Net Promoters of their current employer (plus 19%)

The Net Promoter Score assessed respondents' propensity to recommend their employer to others.

The pre-disposition of over-55s in particular to work in the sector is significant in view of Australia's ageing population. For NFPs, this indicates an opportunity to access a growing pool of valuable mature workers who can make a significant contribution to the sector and society more broadly.

Attraction and departure 'perception gap'

Maxxia's research indicated a potential 'perception gap' between what NFP HR leaders and NFP staff consider draws employees to the sector and what might prompt them to leave.

As an example, 54% of NFP employees cited having the relevant skills and qualifications as a key reason for joining the sector, compared with 5% of NFP HR leaders who cited it as a key reason. Conversely, positively impacting people's lives was the reason 60% of NFP HR leaders gave for staff joining the sector, compared with 56% of NFP employees that said this.

Taken together, these findings are important as they indicate that whilst NFP employees want to use their skills and qualifications to positively impact others, some NFP HR leaders may be potentially underestimating future or existing employees' desire to employ both their capability and their compassion.

Differences concerning the importance of flexible working hours, work-life balance and stability of employment indicated other areas where the opinions of NFP HR leaders and employees were also contrasted, providing insight into motivations which may deserve heightened attention when recruiting people to the sector.

Reasons for working in the sector:

.

Skills & Qualifications

Flexible Hours

Work-Life Balance

Job Stability

NFP Employees

54%

35%

35%

28%

Total Workforce

5%

6%

3%

3%


Michael Kay said that the Maxxia Workplace Insights Study was a natural progression of Maxxia's broader efforts to help the sector to further enhance its attraction and retention of staff.

"As a partner of numerous charitable, health, aged care and related NFP organisations, we hope that the findings of this study highlight the overall satisfaction of those that the NFP sector employs, whilst providing insight into potential areas of opportunity to further the vibrancy and attraction of the sector as a major employer and contributor to the Australian community," he said.

For further information please contact Maxxia Corporate Affairs Manager Rohan Martin on 03 9097 3842 or PRX Director Brian O'Neil on 03 9607 4500.

Request a copy of the Maxxia Workplace Insights Key summary report.