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Time to hire

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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 8, 2017
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Nonprofits and for-profit businesses might have differing missions, but executives from both sides, according to a new report from Nonprofit HR, a consulting organization, share a common challenge: hiring and retaining the best people.

On a comparative basis, nonprofits are currently more aggressive than for-profits in hiring people to fill open posts, according to the Nonprofit HR survey, compiled in conjunction with the Improve Group and GuideStar. The study, the 2017 Nonprofit Employment Practices Survey, for example, reports that 50% of nonprofits plan to hire in 2017, against 40% of for-profit respondents. But the gap is narrowing: The nonprofit hiring rate is down seven percentage points from the 2016 survey, while the for-profit hiring rate is up 4 percentage points.

The survey also discovered some gaps in nonprofit hiring practices. To wit, more than eight of 10 nonprofits, 81%, do not have a formal retention strategy, while 52% do not have a formal diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, the report shows. Other survey findings include:

• Nearly two-thirds, 64%, of nonprofits do not have a formal recruitment strategy;

• More than half, 56%, of nonprofits have no plans to change internal models for sourcing for talent in 2017.

• More than one-fourth, 28%, of nonprofits cite an inability to hire qualified staff within a limited budget as the top staffing challenge in 2017;

• At least one-third of the respondents, 35%, say their greatest diversity challenge is retaining staff under the age of 30, while 42% say balancing ethnic/cultural diversity is their greatest diversity challenge.

The survey, says Nonprofit HR President and CEO Lisa Brown Alexander, should be a wakeup call. “With social enterprises and purpose-driven businesses experiencing tremendous growth, it is only going to get more difficult for nonprofits to attract and retain the top performers they need to advance their missions,” Brown says in the release. “The time for organizations to get serious about recruitment, retention, culture and human capital is now.”


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