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According to the 2013 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey, nonprofits reported that they expect their turnover rates to remain steady. Eighty-seven percent of nonprofits reported that they do not anticipate their overall turnover rate to increase in the coming year, the same percent as in the 2012 Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey. When analyzed by turnover area, nonprofits anticipate turnover through retirements and voluntary resignations to remain steady this year compared to last year. However, they anticipate a continued, slight rise in involuntary terminations. Two years ago, only 2% of organizations anticipated turnover to increase due to involuntary terminations, compared to 5% last year and 7% this year.

This topic and more will be discussed at the 2013 Nonprofit HR Symposium on February 19 in Washington, DC.

The survey uncovered a sharp rise in nonprofits expecting an increase in turnover due to voluntary terminations, resignations and retirements from 2011-2012. However, nonprofits reported anticipating a continued, gradual rise in involuntary terminations from 2012-2013. It is generally understood that there is a direct correlation between the nation’s economic health and turnover rates across all industries. The nonprofit sector, of course, is no exception. Nonprofit HR Solutions, the firm that commissioned the study, feels organizations should continue to monitor their turnover rates with the understanding that as the U.S. economy continues to rebound, employees will more likely begin to seek new career opportunities outside of their current organizations.

“Resignations and retirements have increased,” said survey participant Art Glover, Associate Director of Human Resources for Douglas County Libraries. “With the gradual improvement of the economy, employees are seeing other opportunities in the market. Others are feeling a bit more comfortable with retiring. These changes have helped us do many more internal promotions, so that is the good news.”

Of the nonprofits surveyed for the study, the average turnover rate for 2012 was 17%. Voluntary turnover (resignations and retirements) was at 11% and involuntary turnover (layoffs) was at 3%, and other reasons for leaving the organization was at 3%. Of the nonprofits surveyed, 66% anticipate their turnover rate will stay the same in 2013 as in 2012, while 13% anticipate it will increase and 21% anticipate it will decrease when compared to last year.

“We’re very stable. The people we have currently are really good fits, they’re committed to our organization and to our mission. As long as we continue to pay competitively and treat them well, they’ll stay,” said survey participant Nathan Monell, President of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.

When asked about actual changes in staff size in 2012, 40% of nonprofits surveyed said the size of their staff increased. This is a 3 percentage point decrease from last year when 43% of nonprofits surveyed said their staff increased, but a 6 percentage point increase from two years ago when only 34% of nonprofits reported an increase in staff size. Additionally, 40% of nonprofits surveyed indicated that their staff size stayed the same and 20% indicated a decrease in staff size. Last year, 37% reported their staff size stayed the same while 20% reported a decrease in staff size.

“During the recession we had right sized our organization to make sure our staffing matched our resources, but now we’re pulling out of that, and finding new funds to add a couple more positions,” said Monell.

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