Labour Force Statistics

Scope of the Canadian nonprofit sector¹

A portrait of the Canadian nonprofit sector provided by the 2003 National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations (NSNVO) shows the distribution of employers and employees across the country. The survey found that nearly 1.2 million people perform paid work for close to 69,000 nonprofit organizations. This translates into more than 7% of the overall Canadian workforce. People with real skills and experience power our sector. Without a doubt, our sector’s labour force is a large and important part of the Canadian labour force.

Profile of the nonprofit labour force

Over the past three years, the HR Council has undertaken a research process to better understand the nonprofit labour force. The research was anchored by two major, Canada-wide surveys of nonprofit employers (organizations) and employees working in nonprofits that were conducted in 2007-2008. The following is a compilation of statistics that capture the essence of the research. For more information, you can access the full findings from the surveys.

Profile of nonprofit employees

Click here to view the distribution of sector employees

    • Nearly 1.2 million Canadians work in nonprofits
    • 76% are women, compared to 47% of Canada’s overall labour force²
    • The average age of sector employees is 43.4, slightly higher than the overall labour force at 41.2³
    • Nearly all sector employees have completed high school and seven out of ten employees have acquired a post-secondary education
    • 71% hold full-time, permanent positions
    • Overall, 21% of sector employees are union members
    • Three quarters receive non-wage benefits; with the three most popular benefits being: drug plan (67%), life and/or disability insurance (64%) and dental care (61%)
    • 53% have been employed by their current organization for more than five years. Nearly a third have tenure exceeding 10 years
    • Overall, 88% are satisfied with their current job, however some aspects of their work are less satisfying: access to retirement savings, compensation, opportunities for professional development and career advancement


Profile of nonprofit employers

Click here to view the distribution of sector employers

The sector’s employers include some 69,000 nonprofit organizations nation-wide. They are active in a variety of areas: health and social services; religion; development and housing; arts and culture; sports and recreation; environment; international; education and research; law, advocacy and politics; and fundraising and grant making.

    • Most employers are very small organizations. Well over half of employers have fewer than five employees and three-quarters of them have fewer than ten employees
    • Only 3% of employers have 100 or more paid employees – but this small number of employers accounts for more than half of all the employees in the sector
    • Overall, about two-thirds of organizations operate independently, with no parent organization or sub-units
    • Half of large employers (those with 100 or more employees) are unionized
    • Half of employers who recruited employees in the year leading up to the survey reported difficulty finding and hiring qualified staff. Large organizations, organizations in Alberta and those in health and social services were more likely to report difficulty
    • Seven out of every ten employers have a budget for staff training and development
    • Nearly all large employers (90%) have the most popular non-wage benefit: a drug plan. The next most popular benefit is dental care, at 85%, followed by vision care at 75%
    • Nearly two-thirds (62.4%) of small organizations (those with less than ten employees) provide employees with at least one non-wage benefit


¹
Cornerstones of Community: Highlights of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, Ottawa: Minister of Industry. Revised version, June 2005. Statistics Canada catalogue no. 61-533-XIE.
² Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of population.
³ Ibid.


Table 1 - Distribution of employers and employees by number of employees

Number of employees

Employers

Employees

 

%

%

N

1 - 4

57.5

6.9

81,870

5 - 9

17

6.3

75,266

10 - 24

14.2

11.9

141,099

25 - 99

8.3

21.5

254,349

100 +

3.1

53.4

633,177

All

100

100

1,185,762

Source: Statistics Canada. Custom tables from the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, 2003. This table does not include universities & colleges, hospitals or business & professional associations & unions.

 


Table 2 - Sub-sectoral distribution of employers by number of employees

Area of Activity

Number of Employees

1-4

5-9

10-24

25-99

100+

% of Employees

Arts & Culture

53.7

24.4

12.5

5.9

3.7

Sports & Recreation

53.7

24.4

12.5

5.9

3.7

Education & Research

42.3

23.3

15.2

15.2

4

Health

28.3

21.4

21.5

17.7

11.2

Social Services

39.4

18.3

22.0

14.9

5.3

Environment

50.8

23.4

17.1

7.9

0.8

Development & Housing

60.1

11.9

19.1

5.6

3.2

Law, Advocacy & Politics

59.3

18

16.2

*

*

Philanthropy & Volunteerism

62.2

19.5

11.9

5.3

0.7

International

43.8

28.7

15.9

*

*

Religion

78.5

13.2

5.7

2.3

0.4

Other

60.2

13.8

13.1

6.7

6.1

All areas

57.5

17

14.2

8.3

3.1

* indicates that numbers are suppressed to meet the confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act.

Source: Statistics Canada. Custom tables from the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, 2003. This table does not include universities & colleges, hospitals or business & professional associations & unions.