According to a new survey, many of China’s public welfare workers are choosing to leave the sector, causing a brain drain. Public welfare enterprises are seemingly unable to retain talent with up to 37.5% of those leaving public welfare jobs choosing to go into the private sector. The survey, commissioned by the Narada foundation, consulted 474 high, mid-level and ordinary NGO employees across China on working conditions as well as economic and career development prospects.
Essentially, the survey finds three main reasons for this brain drain: Family opposition, low pay, and lack of career opportunities. Despite an 8.3% increase in monthly wages from 2010 to 2014, only 31.6% of those surveyed were satisfied with their current pay. There was a 2422 RMB disparity in ideal vs. actual monthly pay and a huge regional divide between the more developed coastal cities and interior regions. Additionally, NGO workers earn less than private sector counterparts in the same city. This disparity is particularly pronounced in first tier cities like Beijing, where the average worker earned 8067 RMB per month in 2013 compared to the average NGO worker who took home just 5191 RMB.
The main reason for these low wages is inadequate funding. 80.3% of the NGO managers surveyed feel that insufficient funding to attract experts to the field is a major problem. The lack of a clear career development path is also a serious issue for those thinking about working in public welfare. For them and their families, this lack of security makes other industries more attractive. This environment has led to talented workers leaving the public welfare sector, with adequate replacements hard to find.