Report released on the development of talents in the Chinese charity sector

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With the development of a more diverse society many charitable organizations, including foundations, social groups, and social service organizations, have emerged in large numbers. The demand for talent in charity is also increasing as charitable programs prosper. However, due to the unreasonable salary structure, the low social status, blocked promotion paths and other problems, the development of charity is now greatly restricted by a shortage of talents.

Although professionals within the industry have conducted various surveys and analyses of human resources in the charity sector, these all suffer from many limitations, such as an incomplete coverage of samples and organization types, limited research content, and the overlooking of new trends.

In light of this situation, the Institute for Philanthropy of Tsinghua University established a research team with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research the development of talent in Chinese charity. The team conducted research in 10 cities, distributed 663 questionnaires, held 10 focus group interviews, investigated over 30 charitable organizations, and compiled records with over 600,000 words in total. The report comprehensively describes the current situation regarding human resources in China’s charity sector in seven different aspects: talents structure, basic information, career choices & flows, salaries & satisfaction degree, career cognition & satisfaction degree, organizational citizenship behaviour & creativity, and power distance & leadership style, while providing practical suggestions.

The following is a brief summary of the report’s highlights:

First of all, the report introduces the current situation and development trends. Although the development of talents in the charity sector is facing many challenges, such as a low level of professionalism and high turnover rate, with the deepening development of social philanthropy, more and more teenagers and professional volunteers are willing to participate in charitable undertakings, bringing new blood to the industry.

The report also focuses on the educational system and institutional environment. With the rapid development of the charity sector, the cultivation of talents has become a crucial point for the sustainable and innovative development of social organizations. Based on practical demands, many corporate foundations, universities, and other organizations have started to provide specialized education and training programs for talents at all levels. At the same time, the Chinese central government also highly supports the development of social organizations, providing institutional guarantees for professional cultivation.

The report also looks at the majors that the staff of charity organizations studied in university. 12 different majors are identified, including law, management, literature, economics, and science, out of which management takes up the highest proportion with 27.8%, law takes up 20.46% and literature takes up 14.29%. More specifically, in social groups, staff with a management background accounts for 43.38%, while in social service organizations, staff with a legal background takes up the highest proportion with 31.58%.

Moreover, the report contains research on the distribution of working years for both leaders and staff in the industry. The leaders’ working years cluster at both extremes. 25.26% of the leaders have worked more than ten years, while 23.2% have worked three to five years, and 18.04% have fewer than three years of work experience. Compared to the leaders, other members of staff usually have less working years under their belt. 85% of staff have worked fewer than five years, and only 3.12% have worked more than 10 years.

Another point the report focuses on is the degree of satisfaction with the salaries. The average degree of satisfaction for the leaders is 2.92 out of 5, while for the staff it is 2.89. Generally, the degree of satisfaction with the salaries in the charity sector is quite low.

In addition, the report looks at the power distance. According to the report’s statistics, both leaders and staff have a low acceptance of power distance, which represents their preference for an equal and democratic working atmosphere. This is also an important feature of charitable organizations.

The last theme of the report is the motivation for long-term work in the charity sector. 63.16% of the leaders and 47.89% of staff are motivated by their passion for this industry. 26.32% of the leaders and 39.44% of staff are motivated by a better career development. Only 10.53% of the leaders and 12.68% of the staff claim to work in order to feed their families.