Acevo calls for sector to address lack of ethnic diversity in senior roles

The charity leaders body makes the call as its latest pay and equalities survey reveals that only 3 per cent of charity chief executives who took part were from black and minority ethnic backgrounds

Acevo has called on the sector to prioritise the issue of ethnic diversity among senior staff after its research showed that the proportion of charity chief executives from black and minority ethnic backgrounds had fallen over the past 10 years.

The charity leaders body’s Pay and Equalities Survey 2018, published today, shows that only 3 per cent of the charity chief executives who took part in the study were from BAME backgrounds, lower than in the 2008 study, when it was 4.3 per cent.

This compares unfavourably with the most recent UK census, conducted in 2011, which found that 14 per cent of UK residents were non-white.

The survey does show, however, that the gender pay gap among charity chief executives closed considerably last year.

Research was conducted online in September and October and attracted responses from 540 UK charity leaders. It found that average pay among male participants was 3.8 per cent higher than their female counterparts, down from 11.6 per cent in the previous year.

Of those who responded to the survey, 57 per cent were female, 42 per cent were make and 1 per cent declined to say. These figures were almost the same as in last year's study. 

This year's survey also found that median annual pay for all who took part in the study remained at £50,000 for the second year, down by £10,000 from 2013, when it was £60,000.

Acevo said the figures could reflect the increased financial pressures faced by many charities in recent years.

Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said the problem of ethnic diversity was well documented and discussed in the voluntary sector, but this had not brought change.

"We must now collectively prioritise action to break down the barriers and bias that exist within the voluntary sector," she said.

"If action is not taken now, we will be commenting on the same figures in 2028 as we were in 2008."

She said Acevo was working with sector leaders to develop "concrete actions that can be championed across civil society".

Browning said she was pleased to see the gender pay gap shrink, but warned against complacency in this area because it was unclear why it had happened.

The research also found that 46 per cent of charity chief executives had no formal salary review on a regular basis, but 45 per cent had an annual review of their pay package.

"These proportions have remained largely consistent in recent years and suggest a polarisation between organisations carrying out regular CEO salary reviews and those that do not," the report on the findings says.

"There is quite a noticeable process gap for senior positions in the sector and this may be something requiring greater standardisation in organisations which do not currently review on a regular basis."

The survey also found that although more than two-thirds of charity chief executives had regular appraisals, more than a quarter – 28 per cent – did not. This was, however, an improvement on the previous year, when 36 per cent said they did not have regular appraisals.

The full report is available to purchase from Acevo. 

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