Summary of the CDB Report on Frontline Project Officers in Private Foundations

China Development Brief

中文 English

China Development Brief released the “Chinese Private Foundation Frontline Project Officers Research Report” at the 7th annual meeting of the China Private Foundation Forum (CPFF) on November 30th. The report’s findings indicate that frontline project officers in private foundations share many of the typical characteristics of all workers in the public welfare sector. These include the fact that women constitute the majority of the workforce, and many see their job as their career. Frontline project officers also have some distinguishing features though, such as good educational backgrounds, high incomes, and not being deterred by the lack of public recognition. They may have questions regarding the direction of their career development but unlike typical public welfare sector workers, they focus more on personal growth, the improvement of their professional skills and self-realization. They also have a strong desire to see reforms in the management system and the policies of private foundations.

 

Basic profile

More than half of the officers are women born in the 1980s

Out of the 124 project officers from 102 private foundations surveyed, 70 were female, making up 56.45% of the total. Within the “cooperative foundation camp” (a training project for frontline officers that we followed and researched), there are 20 female trainees (students) out of a total of 30 people. This data shows that even within private foundations there is a clear majority of female employees. However, the report shows that among the 30 people in the camp, only 2 were familiar with gender-related social issues. Due to the lack of this knowledge, researchers also found that there were cases where the project officers had difficulty solving some frontline issues.

In terms of age distribution among the project officers, the report shows that 56.45% of the officers were born in the 80s, and 8.06% were born in the 90s. Together they make up 64.51%, or close to 2/3 of all project officers.

Most are well educated, and have held their jobs for less than five years

The report finds that more than half of the project officers (54.84%) have a bachelor’s degree as their highest qualification. The number reaches as high as 86.29% if we include masters and doctorate’s degree holders. Another 10.48% of the officers hold a college diploma. Only 3.23% of the project officers have a high school diploma or below.

Out of the project officers, most have been employed for 2-5 years (46.77%) in their foundation. Another 34.68% of the project officers have worked in their foundation for less than 2 years. In total, over 4/5 or 81.45% of project officers have worked in their foundation for less than 5 years.

Among the employed project officers, 57.26% see their work in foundations as their career.

80% of the paid project officers have incomes equal to or greater than the average income

More than a quarter (26.61%) of the project officers working at foundations are not paid. Out of the 91 paid officers surveyed, 51 (56.04%) have an income equal to the average income of their respective cities. Another 21 officers (23.08%) have an income at least 30% higher than the average income of their respective cities. In combination, these two groups total up to almost 80% of the paid officers surveyed.

 

Private foundations’ internal administration and decision-making

The Participation of project officers is limited to the project level

Out of the 124 project officers surveyed, 122 of them (98.39%) believe that frontline personnel should have the right to participate in decision-making involving the foundation’s structure and projects. In reality however, most project officers are only involved in specific projects. Only 43.55% and 39.52% participate in their foundations’ strategic policy formation and management, respectively.

More than 60% of project officers have difficulty communicating with decision-makers

The report shows that only 39.52% of the project officers claim that as of now, they have no communication problems with their foundation’s decision makers. What is the main cause of the lack of effective communication between the other 60% of the project officers and the decision-makers? 41.13% of the project officers claim it is due to their own skills and views. They believe that project officers and-decision makers have differences in their views and skills. 39.52% of the project officers believe it has to do with the style of management within the foundations. Finally, the other 20.16% of the project officers think that the operations within the foundations lack standardization, transparency and procedure.

 

Career development and training expectations

90% of project officers have doubts regarding their career development and job prospects

When it comes to personal career development, only 9.68% of the interviewees claimed to not have any questions or doubts regarding their careers. Close to 60% (58.06%) believe that they lack professional training in project management or in evaluation. Almost half (48.39%) think that it is very difficult for them to see the broader views of the public welfare sector or analyze topics related to public welfare. 41.13% of the public officers see a lack of career advancement within the sector. A third (33.06%) of the officers feel there is a lack of platforms to allow frontline project officers to share and communicate among themselves. Apart from this, 12.9% say it is difficult to achieve self-actualization and a small portion (6.45%) says that they are troubled with the lack of support and understanding from their families and the public.

The training currently available within the industry is not up to par

Participation in training is a crucial part of the career development of project officers, but the report finds that the current training within the industry is not up to par. The following is a report on the training of project officers:

  • Over the past two years almost one third (27.42%) of the project officers have never participated in any professional skills trainings inside or outside of their workplace
  • Among the 90 officers who participated in training, only 58.89% expressed satisfaction with it
  • 84% of the project officers said they were too busy to attend trainings; 34.68% of the project officers claimed that they have attended similar trainings in the past but found them to be ineffective
  • 48% of the project officers believe that it would be a much better learning experience if they could visit mature and leading organizations within the industry and learn from their first hand experiences
  • 71% of the project officers are more interested in lectures given by experienced professionals and managers in the field of public welfare than lectures given by other trainers

 

Compensation satisfaction and job change plans

Half of project officers are not satisfied with their current compensation

Compensation is a key topic in the public welfare sector. In the report project officers who are unsatisfied with their salary slightly outnumbered those who are satisfied, by 63 to 61.

87% of project officers wish for a raise

When asked a question regarding a salary raise, only seven people (5.65%) said they were satisfied with their current salary and do not need a raise. Nine project officers (7.26%) chose “other reasons”, such as not receiving a salary from their foundation, the pay not mattering or never having thought about salary at all. Other than the two groups of people mentioned above, who constitute only 12.91% of the total sample, the remaining 87.09% are all hoping for a pay raise.

Only 20% of project officers are sure that they will receive a pay raise within a year

Even though there is hope of having a pay raise, 46.77% of the project officers stated that they do not know whether there will be one in the comping year within their foundations. A clear compensation policy is one of the signs of transparency within the internal administration of foundations. Another 32.26% of the officers are certain they will not receive a raise. Only 27.97% are positive that there will be a raise.

Over 80% of project officers are not planning on changing jobs

When questioned on whether they have plans to change jobs, most of the officers claim that they have not made any. Only 20 of those surveyed (16.13%) are planning to change their jobs. Out of these 20. 11 said that they were leaving because the salary is too low, nine officers claimed not to agree with the management style in their foundation, six people said it is difficult to start work and another six said it is too stressful and there is a lack of engagement. Only three want to leave because of lack of support from their families.

 

See full report in Chinese here.

 

Appendix: changes project officers wish to see in the administration of their foundations and the development of the sector

The report gathered responses from more than 30 frontline officers via open-ended questions.

In terms of participation in decision-making and administrations within the foundation, project officers are hoping there will be a more comprehensive foundation system and that the project officers will have more autonomy. More specific recommendations include: “optimizing regulations, strict implementation of management rules”, “creating a clear communication channel and platform”, “adopting a flat organizational structure, granting the implementer sufficient authority once a decision has been made, and increasing communication to avoid conflicts”, “one person having the power to approve and veto a project hinders the development of the organization”, “hope the frontline workers can have more autonomy”, “working groups and the decision-makers do not share the same clear view of the organization’s goal and the definition of their authority. Clear divisions in organizational management and related responsibilities has a significant impact on operations” and “letting the project officers get involved in decision-making as it helps with operations, support and evaluations, leading to better results”.

In regards to the operation of foundations and the development of the sector, the project officers made some suggestions. Some pointed out the current problems and difficulties faced by private foundations. Observations include “it is difficult to raise money for the foundation”, “the different treatment of private and public foundations hinders the development of foundations”, “in the public welfare sector, there need to be clear sponsorship definitions for the foundations and professional skills need to be upgraded”.

There were further suggestions from the project officers regarding the problems that are present in the sector. The suggestions included “more support from government policies”, “operation-based foundations should transform into financial aid foundations depending on their capability and strategy”, “the government should support the foundations by exempting them from paying any tax on income”, “foundations should make a plan to recognize talent within the sector through a formal certification program, and provide appropriate subsidies depending on the level of certification”, “increasing employees’ salary and establishing a regional guideline for compensation” and “launching skill based trainings for private foundation employees as well as providing support, specifically in terms of tools and knowledge-base sharing in order to improve the implementation of projects and the related support”.

One project officer wrote, “The current “Regulation for the Management of Foundations (基金会管理条例)” mandates that you may not allocate more than 10% of total expenditure on staff compensation and administrative overheads. This is clearly impractical for small foundations with a total fund of up to several million dollars.” He believes that this regulation is hindering foundations’ development and wants changes to be implemented.

 

中国发展简报发布首份非公募基金会一线项目官员调研报告

作者:郭婷

       11月30日,中国发展简报在第七届非公募基金会发展论坛年会上发布了《中国非公募基金会一线项目官员调研报告(2015)》。《报告》显示,非公募基金会的一线项目官员既有公益从业者的一般特点,如女性居多、大多视工作为事业;也有属于他们的特点,如教育水平良好,收入水平相对较高,较少为社会认同所困;他们有着职业发展的困惑,但与公益从业者常见的“血汗公益”、“悲情公益”相比,诉求更多集中在个人成长、专业能力提升和自我实现方面;并对非公募基金会的治理制度、政策环境有强烈的变革愿望。

 

基本样貌

过半数为女性、80 后

《报告》调研的102家非公募基金会的124位项目官员中,女性70 人,占比56.45%。而在项目组跟访的一线项目官员协力营中,女性学员为20 人,达到全部30 名学员的三分之二。可见,即便在处于公益领域上游的非公募基金会中,也有明显的从业者女性化现象。然而,《报告》指出,在为数30人的协力营中,熟悉社会性别相关知识的项目官员仅有2人;在研究者约稿过程中,也发现有项目官员因为不熟悉社会性别知识,而对一线中遇到的问题出现难解的困惑。

年龄分布方面,《报告》发现,“80 后”项目官员人数占总数的56.45%,超过半数;而“90 后”项目官员占比 8.06%。“80后”和“90”后相加,占全部项目官员64.51%,近三分之二。

 

大多受过良好教育、任职五年以内

《报告》发现,超过一半项目官员(54.84%)拥有本科学历,加上硕士、博士毕业者,本科以上学历的项目官员占比达到86.29%。此外还有10.48%的项目官员大专毕业,仅3.23%的项目官员的最后学历为高中、中专或以下。

任职年限方面,在基金会任职2~5年的项目官员人数最多,占46.77%;任职2年以内的项目官员也占34.68%;任职不足5年的项目官员数量相加,达到了81.45%,超过总数的五分之四。

其中,近六成人(57.26%)将基金会工作当作自己的一项事业。

 

八成受薪项目官员收入相当于或超过社会平均收入

收入水平方面,超过四分之一(26.61%)的项目官员在基金会工作不拿薪水。而91位受薪项目官员中,过半数(51人、56.04%)收入与所在城市的平均工资相当;超过两成(21人、23.08%)收入高于所在城市平均工资的30%或以上——这两类合计占受薪项目官员近八成。

 

基金会内部治理和决策参与

项目官员的参与局限在项目层面

124位项目官员中,高达122人认为一线项目人员应该对本基金会机构和项目的决策有参与权,占比98.39%。而从实际参与情况来看,大部分项目官员的参与都在项目层面,能够参与制定机构战略和机构治理方面的,分别占43.55%和39.52%。

 

超六成项目官员与决策者沟通存在障碍

《报告》指出,仅有39.52%的项目官员认为自己目前与基金会决策者之间沟通无障碍。那么妨碍其余六成项目官员与决策者之间有效沟通的主要障碍是什么呢?41.13%的项目官员选择反思自己的能力和视野——认为项目官员与决策层视野、能力不同;将问题指向基金会的项目官员比例也近似——39.52%的项目官员认为是基金会管理风格的原因、还有20.16%的项目官员认为基金会运作缺乏规范透明的运作标准和程序。

 

职业发展与培训期望

九成项目官员职业发展存在困惑

在个人职业生涯发展方面,仅有9.68%的受访者表示目前没有任何困惑或问题,近六成(58.06%)认为自己缺乏项目管理或监测评估等专业能力培训;近半数(48.39%)觉得自己很难做到对公益行业和公益议题的宏观把握与分析;超过四成(41.13%)认为缺乏职业规划和上升空间;还有三分之一(33.06%)觉得缺乏一线项目人员的同伴交流分享机制。此外,难有自我实现感(12.9%)、缺乏家人的理解和支持以及公众的认可(6.45%)也是小部分项目官员的困惑。

 

行业现有培训效果不容乐观

参与培训是项目官员提升职业发展能力的重要途径,然而《报告》发现,行业现有培训效果不容乐观。以下是《报告》中有关项目官员参与培训的一组数据:

-过去 2 年内,近三成(27.42%)项目官员没有参加过任何行业内外的相关职业技能培训;

-90名参与过培训的项目官员中,不足六成(58.89%)人对参加过的培训表示满意;

-54.84%的项目官员表示因为忙不去参加培训;34.68%的项目官员表示不去是因为参加过类似培训没效果;

-60.48%的项目官员希望能实地参访业内成熟的、引领性机构,学习实务经验,超过其他学习方式;

-88.71%的项目官员对在公益领域有丰富工作经验的专业人士和管理者开展的培训和讲座最有兴趣,超过其他类别的培训师。

 

薪酬满意度与跳槽计划

半数项目官员对目前薪酬不满意

薪酬是公益行业十分关心的话题。《报告》显示,对当前薪酬不满意的项目官员人数略高于满意的人数,分别为 63人和61人,基本对半。

 

近九成项目官员期待涨薪

当问及对涨薪的期望时,所有项目官员中仅有7人表示目前对自己的薪酬很满意,不需要提升,占比5.65%;还有9人选择了其他,大部分原因为在基金会不拿薪水、认为无所谓以及暂未考虑该问题等,占总体比例的7.26%;这两类项目官员合计占比仅为12.91%。而其余近九成(87.09%)的项目官员都期待涨薪。

 

仅二成项目官员明确未来一年能涨薪

尽管期望涨薪,但对于所在基金会未来一年是否有涨薪计划这个问题,46.77%的项目官员表示不清楚是否有涨薪计划——这也是基金会内部制度是否明晰的标志之一;另有32.26%的人明确表示没有;仅有20.97%的人给出了肯定的答案。

 

超八成项目官员无意跳槽

用脚投票是项目官员对基金会工作满意度的最直观反映。当问到是否有跳槽计划时,参与调研的项目官员绝大部分都表示没有相关打算,仅有20人(16.13%)计划跳槽。

在这20位项目官员中,11位项目官员表示离职因素涵盖薪酬太低,9人不认同基金会的管理风格,各有6人分别因为工作难开展、压力大和缺乏参与感打算离开,仅有3人是因为家人不支持而打算离开。

 

 

点击下载报告全文

纸质报告索取:yangjin@cdb.org.cn

 

附录:项目官员对基金会治理和行业发展的期望

此外,《报告》通过设置开放性问题的方式,收集了三十多位来自一线项目官员的看法。

在基金会决策参与和治理方式上,项目官员提出希望建立更为完善的基金会制度,以及为项目官员赋予更大自主权。具体建议包括“优化管理制度,严格按管理制度操作”、“建立通畅的沟通渠道以及常态化的沟通机制”、“进行扁平化管理,决策后应充分授权给执行者以调动其积极性、增加沟通以减少矛盾”、“发起人对决策具有一票决定权或者一票否决权有碍组织机构的发展”、“希望一线人员可以得到更多的自决权”、“工作团队和决策层对组织目标的共识不够明确,授权不充分。此外,组织管理模块分类及相关的责权界限是否清晰,对实际运作有很大影响”、“让项目官员也参与到决策,有助于项目的运作、支持与评估,达到更好的成效”等。

关于基金会运作方式及行业发展,项目官员们也提出自己的意见。有些侧重于指出非公募基金会发展的问题和现状,如“基金会募集资金比较困难”、“非公募基金会与公募基金会的不平等待遇阻碍了基金会行业的发展”、“在目前公益行业的生态中,基金会的资助角色需要更加明确,相关的专业能力也有待进一步提高”。

更多项目官员针对问题提出了建议,包括应在“政策上给予更多支持”、“运作型基金会应该视基金会能力及规划向资助型转型”、“税收政策方面应给予大力扶持,基金会的一切收入均应免征税收”、应当“拟定基金会行业人才认定计划,依据不同层面人才给予一定职称认定及技术补贴”、应当“提高基金会从业人员薪酬待遇并拟定地方性指导标准”、“建议开展针对非公募基金会中层人员的培训和支持,让中层掌握更多的技术、工具和方法,更好地开展公益项目的支持工作”等。

还有一位项目官员写道,“目前的《基金会管理条例》规定基金会工作人员工资福利和行政办公支出不得超过当年总支出的10%,这对只有几百万元资本金的小基金会而言,这样的基数怎么能和大的基金会用同一个比例来约束呢?”他认为这一规定不利于基金会的发展,希望能够推进条例的改革。

 

 

Translated by Angela

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