Senior staff salaries

Quick facts

  • Britain’s biggest charities are multi-million-pound organisations and experienced managers in order to run effectively and efficiently.
  • Senior charity staff are paid less than those in other sectors. Their pay levels are set by an independent board of volunteer trustees.
  • Senior staff make sure the charity spends its money wisely and meets its goals.
  • They are accountable to the charity’s trustees – the board of volunteers who oversee the charity.

Charities need experienced staff in order to be effective.

The greatest difference between charity salaries and salaries in other sectors is at the more senior levels. While junior staff in charities earn around the same as their counterparts in other sectors, more senior staff in charities earn considerably less than their equivalents elsewhere.

Charities need experienced and capable professional staff to ensure their money is used effectively. Senior charity staff are accountable to an independent board of trustees who monitor the performance of the charity and its senior staff.

Senior pay levels are also set by these trustees. Trustees are normally volunteers and aren’t paid by the charity. They work out a fair salary to attract someone with the expertise necessary while not spending more than they need to.

Charities with an income of over £1m must say how many staff they have paid over £60,000 in their annual accounts, and what they are paid (within £10,000 bands). In 2014 an inquiry recommended that charities voluntarily publish exact salaries for their most senior staff. A number of major charities are now doing this.