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2017 National Compensation Study for Managerial and Administrative Positions in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations

May 7, 2018

It is important to note that, since the 3rd edition of the National Compensation Study for Managerial and Administrative Positions in Not-for-Profit Arts Organizations was released in April a revision has been made. Originally,  a key finding showed average wage growth at minus 0.1%. The consultants, Mercer Canada, provided a revision to the report (particularly in Section 4.5) that relates to methodology. This led to a change in the average yearly real wage increase (originally calculated at minus 0.1) which was re-calculated at 6.7% since 2008. For organizations with operating budgets of $250,000 to $1,000,000 (representing 44% of the survey respondents), the real wage increase is calculated to be 3.9% over nine years (0.43% per year), well behind the all industry average real wage growth.

About the Study

Performed in 2003 and again in 2008, the study was first conducted because of a growing sense of urgency in the not-for profit arts sector as a generation of arts managers and leaders were leaving the workforce and the question of succession loomed large.

Recognizing that today one of the pressing issues facing arts organizations remains their ability to attract and retain top talent and leaders, in 2017, we partnered with the Department of Canadian Heritage and commissioned the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) and Mercer to conduct a third comprehensive national compensation study—compensation being one of the most critical elements of an organization's ability to recruit and retain a talented workforce.

From October to December 2017, we invited organizations within the not-for-profit arts sector in Canada to share their feedback with us. An encouraging number of participants- just over 430 organizations- answered the call, and after carrying out a thorough analysis of this data in early 2018 we are now able to share the findings of this long-awaited research.

Key Findings:

  • Wages: Since the last survey in 2008, real wages have increased by an average of 6.7%.
  • Benefits: Relative to 2008, the frequency of benefits being offered by arts organizations has increased for certain benefits, such as long-term disability and life insurance. The prevalence of benefits, such as dental and vision coverage has dramatically decreased.
  • Retirement: Retirement savings plans are also now more prevalent in smaller organizations, but the overall prevalence across the cultural sector remains quite low relative to other sectors.
  • Flexible work arrangements: There has been an increase in organizations offering non-health related benefits such as flexible work arrangements.
  • Comparison to other sectors: arts organizations continue to lag behind the general not-for-profit and private sectors in many areas of compensation and benefits.