January 14, 2013

Nonprofit Employees Satisfied With Jobs, but Worry About Retirement

New survey points to need for more robust financial planning

The 1.6 million organizations that make up the American philanthropic and nonprofit sector account for about one-tenth of the U.S. workforce, and a majority of these employees like their jobs, according to a new survey.

That doesn’t mean, however, these workers don’t have complaints or worry about their future, the survey of 1,000 full-time employees by the TIAA-CREF Institute and Independent Sector found.

Fifty-nine percent of nonprofit employees said they were very or extremely satisfied with their current employment, and more than 90% said personal satisfaction with their work’s mission was an important driver in their career decisions.

They also considered salary and career advancement important. Sixty-seven percent of women and 47% of men reported salary as a strong consideration, but overall only 30% were very or extremely satisfied and 36% were somewhat satisfied with career advancement opportunities.

Other key findings of the survey:

  • Nearly 50% of employees said they had considered leaving the sector for better compensation elsewhere.
  • 42% felt they were not accumulating sufficient financial resources to ensure their long-term financial security.
  • 30% of employees had access to a defined benefit plan, and 69% had access to a defined contribution plan, with more than three-quarters of the latter making contributions.
  • 45% of sector employees were not satisfied with their ability to prepare financially for retirement, likely because of household debt: 70% of early-career stage employees and 60% of mid-career employees considered their level of household debt to be a problem.
  • One-third of sector employees reported that they had received retirement planning advice within the past three years.
  • Two-thirds had not tried to determine how much money they would need to accumulate for a comfortable retirement.
  • Even among savers who were confident that they were saving the right amount, one-third had not attempted such a calculation.

“The survey indicates that while nonprofit employees are satisfied overall with their jobs, they have concerns about their ability to retire comfortably,” Paul Yakoboski, senior economist at the TIAA-CREF Institute, said in the statement.

“The results demonstrate the need for financial planning and advice to help these employees combine the best of both worlds: a fulfilling job and a secure financial future.”

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