CFG releases latest salary survey of charity finance teams

27th April 2012

Average pay for finance and accountancy staff in smaller and medium sized charities has fallen or remained static since last year, while salaries in the largest charities (those with £25m+ income) have increased slightly, according to Charity Finance Group’s latest Salary Survey, released today.

However, larger charities are also significantly more likely to have made redundancies in their finance and accountancy teams (33% having done so) and report that their recruitment strategy has been affected by the downturn.

Caron Bradshaw, CFG’s CEO, commented: “This year we really honed in on the differences between small and large charities as we were seeing notable variations between charity size. While larger organisations appear more likely to offer annual salary increases and other tangible financial incentives to staff, smaller charities are more likely to offer a better work-life balance and opportunities for flexible working.”

Finance and accountancy teams also appear to be more resilient to the impact of the economic downturn and spending cuts than other teams. While 54% of respondents reported that steps had been taken across the charity as a whole to reduce the labour cost bill – such as redundancies, reducing temporary staff or withdrawing overtime – only 34% of all respondents reported that finance teams had been affected by such moves.

Caron continued: “The reality is that tough economic conditions are having a continued effect on employment conditions across charities of all sizes. However, we noticed last year that finance teams were less likely to be affected by measures to reduce labour costs, and this trend has again held strong again this year. Finance teams are critical to ensuring organisational stability and the burden falls to them to ensure that every pound works harder when times are tough; it follows that they are one area where greater investment is often needed and so less vulnerable to cost cutting measures. We’re pleased that the value of finance teams continues to be recognised.”

Looking ahead, nearly half of charities believe that the economic downturn will impact on their recruitment strategy for finance and accountancy staff in 2012, with most expecting this impact to come in the form of a recruitment freeze.

The survey, which attracted 373 responses, also showed:

- Average salaries for finance, HR and IT roles have generally remained static since 2011. The average salary for a Finance Director is £66,531, an increase from £63,600 in 2010, having been static since 2008. This varies with region and organisation size. 

- Half of charities awarded an across the board pay rise in the past year. Where it was offered, it was on average well below inflation at 2.6%.

- Those working for small organisations are far more likely to have an excellent work-life balance (with 24% rating ‘excellent’ compared to 3% of large charities).

- While 51% of organisations offered an across the board pay rise in 2011, over a third (36%) of reported that they did not award an increase or reward employees in any other way.

- 39% of respondents reported that the economic downturn and spending cuts had impacted employment strategies for finance teams in 2011 and 46% expect it to impact in 2012. Most expect this impact to come in the form of a recruitment freeze.

- Attitudes towards working in the sector remain generally positive – 84% report they are satisfied with their role, and most feel that the work is interesting. 

- However, the majority (59%) still report that they regularly work longer than their contracted hours – and this rises to 68% in larger organisations.

- There continue to be significant gender differences: overall females are more likely to be employed in finance roles in the charity sector (62% female, 38% male), however males dominate the senior positions. Recruitment to new positions (rather than replacements) continues to fall, to 39% of those recruiting, from 63% in 2009.

- Ends -

Notes to Editors:

1. CFG is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector. Our training and development programmes enable finance managers to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management that their charities need. With more than 1,700 members, managing over £19bn, we are uniquely placed to challenge regulation which threatens the effective use of charity funds. For more information, please see

2. The CFG Salary Survey provides key employment statistics relating to charity finance teams, information on CFG members’ opinions of working in the sector and on the impact of the downturn on recruitment activity. This year’s survey was conducted by independent market research agency, Critical Research, and 373 responses were received between 14 February and 12 March 2012.

3. The full 2012 CFG Salary Survey will be available to download from the CFG website from 26 April 2012. For an advance copy of the report, or for further information, please contact or on 020 7250 8348.

4. CFG would like to give thanks to HSF health plan for sponsoring this year’s survey.

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