Nonprofits growing fast, but pay trails other sectors

February 17, 2000|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

Maryland's nonprofit sector is growing faster than any other, accounting for 25 percent of the jobs created in the state in the past decade, according to a study released yesterday.

The report by Lester M. Salamon, a principal research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Policy Studies, is the second in the past three years to measure the nonprofit sector's place in the state economy.

It found that though the sector is growing, nonprofit employees aren't keeping pace with their counterparts' wages. In Maryland, those employees made 24 percent less, on average, than government workers, and 12 percent less than workers in for-profit businesses. In industries where both nonprofits and for-profits are active, the nonprofit wages were more competitive, the report found.

In a separate survey of its 950 member organizations, the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations (MANO) found that 79 percent of those responding reported moderate to serious problems paying competitive salaries for workers. Nearly half were having problems retaining people.

"We're seeing what we think is the emergence of a work force development crisis in the nonprofit sector," said Peter V. Berns, executive director of MANO, which published Salamon's report.

The association released the report in Annapolis to generate support for several measures pending before the General Assembly. The proposals range from allowing tax deductions for Marylanders who don't itemize charitable contributions to providing training services like those the government provides for small business.

The association also is asking the state to begin a campaign to increase charitable giving, an area in which Maryland has trailed other states.

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