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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Report reveals how much charity chiefs earn in Scotland and UK

This news post is over 2 years old

Study is the most comprehensive of its kind

The average salary for a charity CEO in Scotland is £47,000, according to a new report.

Acevo’s annual Pay and Equalities Survey showed the salaries of charity chiefs across the UK rose last year by 3.6% - or around £2,000 - with the average pay being £58,000 across the four nations.

The report, only available to members of the chief executives’ body, examines chief executive salaries, benefits and job satisfaction in detail and remains the most reliable source of charity chiefs’ pay.

It also explores the level of equality and diversity in the sector’s leadership, and satisfaction levels in the make-up and performance of boards.

Researchers also found that the gender pay gap fell from 12.1% in favour of men last year to 7.6%.

Acevo said last year’s study showed that female chief executives who took part in the survey were more likely to be leading smaller organisations than their male counterparts, while men were more heavily represented in medium-sized and larger organisations. 

This pattern is “less evident in 2021”, according to the study. 

The report says there is a “risk of complacency on key governance issues” during the recovery from the pandemic. 

It found that the proportion of charity leaders who reported having no formal salary review on a regular basis had increased 10 percentage points year on year to 49% while the proportion who said they had an up-to-date job description fell six percentage points to 69%. 

Vicky Browning, chief executive of Acevo, said: “The last year presented numerous challenges for charities and their leaders, so it is encouraging to see that satisfaction levels remain high, that most chief executives did not need to take a pay cut as a result of the pandemic and that 75% of respondents still expect to be working in the sector in five years’ time.

“We were encouraged in 2020 to see an increase in the prevalence of regular salary reviews and up-to-date job descriptions; however, this year’s data shows a drop in these figures, which is a cause for concern. 

“While the challenges faced by the sector as it recovers from Covid-19 are significant, organisations will only be able to build back better if boards keep the focus on these key governance processes which allow leaders to make the biggest possible difference.

“Prioritising chief executive wellbeing and professional/personal development is hugely important to ensure that the communities and causes charities work with and for continue to access the best possible service.”