Wage Gap Seen Among Southwest PA Nonprofits

Mar 10, 2015

Women make up 74 percent of the workforce at nonprofits in southwestern Pennsylvania but they are only being paid 75 percent as much as men.

That’s according to a survey from the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management's most recent survey.

“There’s a whole collection of reasons why this pay gap persists, but it really is troubling because we are supposed to be about social justice,” Peggy Outon, executive director, said. “And nonprofit organizations mostly have a mission to advance social justice, and we have a bigger pay gap in nonprofits than we do in business.”

According to Outon, the pay gap for women in the private sector comes in at 80 cents for every $1 earned by a man.

The survey analyzed 151 southwestern Pennsylvania nonprofits and showed the wages and benefits for 14,752 employees.

Outon said one reason she thinks the wage gap hasn’t closed is because men tend to be more decisive when they set salaries.

“They often look at the performance of our male leaders who are doing a terrific job for the reasons, and they say things like, ‘he’s really good! We need to keep him, we must pay him so it makes sense for him to continue to be here,’” Outon said. “Whereas women often lead by consensus and try to forge decisions that are applicable to everyone on the board."

According to the survey, 64 percent of the organizations’ executive directors are women while 36 percent are men.  The average male executive director makes $135,170 per year while females make an average $101,475 per year for the same position.

Outon is also startled by the way health insurance works in the nonprofit sector.  While 93 percent of nonprofits provide some form of health insurance to their employees, she said in 2002, 59 percent of them paid all of the costs while only 32 percent did in the most recent report.

“So a lot of the costs of healthcare are being passed along to people who once again in many cases are paid pretty poorly and yet are now also having to accept additional costs and fees that are no longer covered under their health insurance plan,” Outon said. 

The survey also found that seven percent of the nonprofits pay employees a cash stipend in order to purchase their own health insurance.

On April 14th, the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management will hold the “Great Debate” in which community leaders will discuss the wage gap.

“Asking them questions about why do they think inequity continues to exist, what we can do to address it, what are some of the concerns that they have from their various perspectives about how to better be just and fair in society,” Outon said.