Clergy Employment Trends Are Revealing

The Church Pension Group completed a survey analysis of the state of employment of clergy in the Episcopal Church. Their survey results demonstrate a clear difference in models of employment by geography and gender, and a decline in the “old model” of full-time employment at a single Episcopal entity until retirement.

The survey produced 11 profiles of priests, ranging from those in traditional full-time employment, through various forms of part-time, bivocational, and supply, to those with no work.

A slim majority of active-age respondents (52%) were still within the traditional model:

Compared to those serving part-time at a single parish, the proportions of men to women serving full-time are almost exactly reversed: full-time male 62%, female 38%; part-time male 31%, female 69%.

Women also made up a large majority of the supply category (73%), and a significant majority of those in non-stipendiary positions (57%).

While priests reporting no employment made up only 2% of the survey sample, women were again over-represented in the results (65% female to 35% male).

Plenty of priests outside of the “norm” wish they were within it.

The CPG reports the following takeaways:

  • ‘Women perceive that they are less likely to get “traditional” positions’
  • ‘Parishes can’t afford a full-time priest, but still have expectations for full-time ministry’
  • ‘It’s not just the parishes that are financially stressed’ [but also clergy]
  • ‘Full-time rectorships are few and hard to come by’
  • ‘A single career break has long-lasting consequences’
  • ‘The “norm” is no longer the “norm”’

Read the whole report here.


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