The Voluntary Sector Workforce – New Almanac Chronicles a Decade’s Growth
Newly-published research has revealed a significant growth in the size of the voluntary sector workforce over the past decade. The UK Voluntary Sector Workforce Almanac 2011 published today (26 October 2011) shows that there were 765,000 people working in the voluntary sector in 2010, an increase of 40% since 2001. This represents a quicker rate of growth than that experienced in either the public or the private sectors over the same period. Such long term growth precedes our recently released figures showing indications of a downturn in voluntary sector employment during 2011.
The Workforce Almanac is a user-friendly source of research and information for voluntary sector employers and managers. It was commissioned by 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. It has been jointly-produced as part of an ongoing partnership of research into the sector’s workforce with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
The Workforce Almanac illustrates the importance of the voluntary sector’s contribution to the UK over the past decade, showing the range of occupations and skills that exist within the sector. It also suggests a range of challenges for the voluntary sector and its workforce over the coming years as we cope with an ageing population, rising unemployment, and constrained public spending. The Workforce Almanac provides reliable information on the current state of the voluntary sector workforce and its capacity to deal with such challenges.
- In 2010, there were 765,000 people employed in the UK voluntary sector, an increase of 40% since 2001.
- In 2010, over half a million women (522,000) were employed in the voluntary sector.
- More than half (57%) of the voluntary sector workforce were employed in ‘health and social work’, equating to 437,000 people.
Keith Mogford, interim chief executive of Skills – Third Sector says: “The publication of The UKVoluntary Sector Workforce Almanac 2011 presents a valuable resource for employers and individuals working in the sector. We all know that voluntary organisations are suffering at the minute, with increasing demand for services and diminishing resources. This puts a strain on the time and money available for training and skills development, yet equally makes it ever more important that there is investment in that development. Skills – Third Sector hopes that by providing a comprehensive overview of the sector’s characteristics this publication will enable those organisations to plan more effectively and strategically for the future.”
Sir Stuart Etherington chief executive of NCVO said: “We are very pleased to have been involved in this research. NCVO have long recognised the need for the sector to adopt a more strategic approach to workforce development and we continue to support an active programme of research in this area. We know that the level of resource seen by the sector throughout the past decade is unlikely to be sustained, meaning an increasing need to ensure that employers know how to get the best contribution out of the dedicated staff and volunteers upon which the sector depends.”
Other Key Findings
- The sector now employs around 2.7% of the UK workforce, a proportion that has slowly increased from 2% in 2001.
- Over one-third (38%) of voluntary sector workers were employed part-time, a higher proportion than within the private and public sectors.
- Gross weekly pay in the voluntary sector amounted to an average of £397.71 in 2010, lower than in both the private and public sectors (£452.60 and £466.53 respectively).
- More than one-third (37%) of voluntary sector employees hold a degree level qualification or higher.
- Just under one fifth (18%) of voluntary sector employers reported that they have staff with skills gaps. The main impact of skills gaps within the voluntary sector was an increase in the workload of other employees (61%).
- The majority of voluntary organisations (56%) provided both on-the-job and off-the-job training in their organisation, however just under one-fifth (18%) provided no training at all.
- Only 5% of voluntary sector employers currently have or offer apprenticeships; however 92% had heard of Government-funded apprenticeships.
Keith Mogford and Graham Leigh at Skills – Third Sector, plus Ben Kernighan at NCVO and Stephen McKay at TSRC are all available for comment.
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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. The Centre works in collaboration with the third sector, to ensure its research reflects the realities of those working within it. TSRC is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, Office for Civil Society and the Barrow Cadbury Trust. (www.tsrc.org.uk)
· The UK Voluntary Sector Workforce Almanac 2011 is based on UK Labour Force Survey analysis from 2001 – 2010, the latest available at the time of analysis. Evidence on training and skills is based on analysis of the National Employers Survey 2009.
· Acknowledgement: we would like to thank ONS/NISRA as creators of the 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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