This study analyzed the rates of burnout in zoo and aquarium employees to determine who experiences burnout. Previous research has examined which demographic groups experience harassment and discrimination, but not much research has shown which demographic groups experience burnout. This study looked at who is experiencing burnout at zoos and aquariums and the factors that may lead to higher levels of burnout. Researchers distributed a survey to recruit individuals working or who have previously worked at a zoo or aquarium. Of 616 respondents, 91% reported they experienced burnout while working at a zoo or aquarium, and 60% stated they left a position because of burnout. Survey participants who identified as Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color were significantly more likely than those identified as White to leave their positions because of burnout. Participants who experienced harassment and discrimination in their workplace were significantly more likely to experience burnout and leave their positions because of it. Participants who experienced stress, anxiety, and exhaustion as a result of their work were more likely to experience burnout. On the other hand, people who were often recognized, valued, and supported by their team and leaders were significantly less likely to experience burnout and leave their positions. The results of this survey indicate that clear and transparent communication between staff, leaders, stakeholders, and decision-makers is critical to better understanding employees’ needs and preventing burnout.Published in April 2023 Issue of Animal Kepers' Forum.Marino. (2023). Measuring Burnout in Zoo and Aquarium Professionals: A Case for Equity and Justice. Animal Keepers' Forum, 50(4), 103-108.
The objective of this study was to compare the financial data of AZA-accredited 501(c)(3) facilities with paid and unpaid internship programs. Financial data was collected from each facility’s 2018 Form 990 found from the IRS Tax Exempt Organization Tool. The data were analyzed to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in the distribution of each facility’s primary sources of revenue and expenses. Financial data was also collected and compared on total revenue, net income, average employee salary, and highest employee salary. There was no significant difference in the distribution of revenue and expenses found between facilities with compensated intern programs and uncompensated intern programs. There was also no significant difference in the total revenue and net income between facility types. The results indicate that all AZA-accredited 501(c)(3)s, regardless of size and operating budget, have the potential to create a compensated intern program. Facilities with compensated intern programs had a significantly greater average employee salary, suggesting that these facilities focus more on compensating staff overall. Facilities with compensated intern programs were interviewed to collect information on how these programs were created and funded. Most respondents said compensation needs to be prioritized and built directly into the annual budget. More research is recommended to determine why facilities are not compensating interns and if compensating interns will provide accessible pathways to zoo and aquarium careers.Marino. (2022). Zoos and Aquariums Can Pay Their Interns: Analyzing  Financial Data from 501(c)(3)s. Animal Keepers' Forum, 49(10), 280-286.