Slight recovery in voluntary sector employment
Continued increase in third sector employee training
Employment levels in the voluntary sector experienced a slight recovery during the final quarter of 2011 according to latest analysis of the Labour Force Survey. An additional 36,000 employees entered the voluntary sector’s paid workforce between October and December 2011, the latest date for which we have accurate information. This represents an increase of around 5% on the previous quarter and takes the sector’s workforce to a total of 759,000 individuals (2.6% of total UK employment).
These latest figures follow six consecutive quarters during which employment in the voluntary sector has either fallen or remained static. Over the past 12 months, the sector’s workforce fell by 33,000, a decline equal to around 4%.The latest figures also present an encouraging picture with regards training levels across the voluntary sector as around 41% of employees report having received training over the past three months, a greater proportion than in either the public or the private sector.
The latest findings were produced and analysed by the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with Skills -Third Sector, the registered charity working to make it easier for people who work and volunteer in charities and social enterprises to have the right skills to make a difference to people and their communities. The findings come as part of an ongoing study being conducted by these three bodies into overall voluntary sector workforce trends.
Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills - Third Sector says: “These findings give reason for some cautious optimism regarding levels of employment in the sector. At Skills - Third Sector we are particularly encouraged by the figures that suggest the sector is strengthening its commitment to training and workforce development, despite the financial pressures it faces. Investing in training undoubtedly brings benefits to organisations and individuals, and we urge organisations to continue to strengthen this activity.”
Sir Stuart Etherington, NCVO chief executive, says: "It is encouraging to see the workforce figures recovering slightly after the steep drop from the last quarter, and the research also highlights the valuable contribution that the sector makes to the UK economy. However, this is clearly no time for complacency, and as we move forward into this new financial year it will be essential that government and voluntary organisations work closely together to mitigate the impact of cuts and support development and innovation."
- Keith Mogford of Skills - Third Sector, and NCVO spokespeople are available for comment. An executive summary of the analysis is also available upon request.
Notes to editors
- Founded in October 2008, Skills – Third Sector is working to identify and address skills gaps and shortages for charities, voluntary groups, social enterprises and cooperatives. It is working with Sector Skills Councils to open up learning opportunities for voluntary sector paid staff and volunteers, and is ensuring the sector's needs are properly considered and addressed in the design and development of national occupational standards, qualifications and apprenticeships. The Office of Civil Society (OCS) in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) are providing initial funding for Skills – Third Sector.
- For more general information about Skills – Third Sector and its work, please visit: www.skills-thirdsector.org.uk
- The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has over 8,400 members, ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level. With over 280,000 staff and over 13 million volunteers working for our members, we represent and support almost half the voluntary sector workforce. (www.ncvo-vol.org.uk)
- The Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC)exists to develop the research on, for and with the third sector in the UK. Led by the universities of Birmingham and Southampton, the Centre was established to provide a strong evidence base to inform policy-making and practice. TSRC works in collaboration with the third sector, to ensure its research reflects the realities of those working within it. (www.tsrc.ac.uk)
- Sir Stuart Etherington, NCVO chief executive, says: "It is encouraging to see the workforce figures recovering slightly after the steep drop from the last quarter, and the research also highlights the valuable contribution that the sector makes to the UK economy. However, this is clearly no time for complacency, and as we move forward into this new financial year it will be essential that government and voluntary organisations work closely together to mitigate the impact of cuts and support development and innovation."Acknowledgement: we would like to thank ONS/NISRA as creators of the Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, and the UK Data Archive for supplying these data. LFS data are Crown Copyright. Neither the data creators nor the UK Data Archive bear any responsibility for their further analysis or interpretation.
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