New salary survey disproves myth of 'fat-cat' charity bosses


The people who run Scotland’s charities are not “fat cats” with huge pay packets, BTA can reveal after carrying out the most extensive research into salaries in the voluntary sector.

The typical charity chief executive in Scotland is paid £47,500. That’s nearly £5,000 less than the average salaries of £52,000 for charity chief executives across the UK - and way below the average of £91,000 earned by Scottish company CEOs.

The Scottish Charity Workforce Salary Survey was carried out by leading charity recruitment specialists BTA, which monitored every role advertised online by Scottish charities for the past two years.

“At last we can disprove this myth about charity leaders being overpaid in Scotland,” said BTA’s Joint Chief Executive Abeer Macintyre. “They are not. They do incredibly hard jobs, running complex organisations on very tight budgets.

“With over 100,000 people employed by charities in Scotland, this is an invaluable piece of work. Two years of research has gone into it and the results are vitally important for the Scottish charity sector.”

Surprisingly, the research found that the average salary for a Scottish charity depute chief executive or director is higher than the average for chief executives.

Abeer Macintyre BTA Joint Chief Executive

Abeer (pictured on the right) said: “This is because these roles will be for senior leaders running the Scottish operation of UK charities or for directors of the small number of large Scottish charities - and they tend to have considerably more structure than the majority of smaller charities that dominate Scotland’s third sector landscape. You would have to question this, as they do not usually carry the full set of responsibilities and ultimate accountability that a chief executive does.”

The research also found that different kinds of charities pay very different rates - with charities working in culture, education and heritage paying substantially more than health or animal charities.

The full results will be launched by BTA in Stirling on June 7 as part of a specialist event called Recruitment, Retention, Remuneration. It is aimed at addressing the key recruitment challenges facing Scottish charities.

The research findings were welcomed by the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO). Its Chief Executive Pat Armstrong said: “Third sector chief officers (COs) are hard-working, passionate, committed individuals who lead their organisations to make a real difference to the lives of people across Scotland.

“As shown in a recent UK-wide ACEVO/ACOSVO/CO3/CAF Pay and Equalities Survey, they work on average an extra 10 hours per week above and beyond their contracted hours in their passion for their cause. It is therefore not surprising that this survey highlights what COs and trustees within the sector already know - that sector leaders give real value for money for their organisations.”

Tickets for the Recruitment, Retention, Remuneration event on June 7 can be purchased here, by calling 01786 542224 or by emailing [email protected]