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Myth / Truth

There are a lot of misperceptions about the non-profit industry. Do you know the reality?

Check out these top five myths about non-profit careers:

Myth #1: There aren’t many full-time jobs in the non-profit sector.

While it’s true that the non-profit sector offers many volunteer, contract and part-time opportunities, it also supports 66,000 full-time employees in BC alone—and more than one million full-time employees across Canada. In fact, according to the HR Council of Canada, the majority of people in the nonprofit sector—71 per cent—are employed full time.

Myth #2: Working in the non-profit sector isn’t a stable career.

Although the non-profit sector was affected by the recession—just as the for-profit sector was—it’s bouncing back. In fact, as a wave of Baby Boomers prepares to retire, the non-profit sector will be actively looking for more people to fill the vacancies they leave at every level.

And non-profit employers attract loyal, long-term employees. According to the HR Council of Canada, more than half of all employees in the non-profit sector have been with their current employer for more than five years, and nearly one third have been with them for more than 10 years!

Myth #3: The non-profit sector attracts mostly older workers.

The non-profit sector is multigenerational, employing a cross-section of younger to older workers. Recently, the non-profit sector has started actively focusing on welcoming of younger leaders. In fact, a key outcome from the National Summit for the Charitable and Non-Profit Sector in 2012 was the recruitment and engagement of young leaders

Myth #4: People work in non-profits because they can’t get private-sector jobs.

For many people, the non-profit sector is their first choice for a career, NOT a “last resort.” They are talented, well-educated and experienced, and they choose careers in this sector because it gives them the opportunity to use their talents to make a difference in the world. These people like their work and the people they work with, and they may also enjoy extra perks such as training, quick advancement and flexible work hours. An HR Council of Canada survey shows that 88 per cent of employees in the non-profit sector are satisfied with their current job.

Myth #5: Non-profit jobs don’t pay as well as private-sector jobs.

The reality is that non-profit organizations often need to stretch their funds to fulfill their mission. At the same time, non-profits are actively looking at ways to pay more competitive wages. Forward-thinking sector advocates such as Dan Pallotta are recognizing that compensation, individual performance and organizational success are deeply connected, and there’s a new movement to pay people what they’re worth in the non-profit sector. 

Today’s trends show that overall, non-profit wages in Canada have been increasing.

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