Press release, 5 July 2010
Employment in the voluntary sector continues to rise
Latest Labour Force Survey figures for the first quarter of 2010 show that the voluntary sector now employs 778,000 people, an increase of 6.5% over the last year. This is in contrast to the public and private sectors which have shown a decrease of 0.5% and 2.3% respectively.
The findings were produced by the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with Skills -Third Sector. The findings come as part of an ongoing study being conducted by these three bodies into overall voluntary sector workforce trends.
One of the reasons why the workforce of the voluntary sector is currently bucking overall employment trends is that the main fields that the voluntary sector works in have not yet been affected by the recession.
Analysis shows that 93% of voluntary sector employees work in social care, health, education or real estate (housing). These industries are still growing in employment. In contrast, numbers of employees in mainly private sector industries, such as finance, manufacturing and construction, have decreased over the last three years.
However, it should be noted that these increases in voluntary sector employment may not continue. The funding patterns of the sector mean that there is a lag between what affects the private and public sectors and what goes on to affect the voluntary sector. The recent Budget has outlined large cuts to the public sector, and this is likely to significantly impact on the voluntary sector over the next year, in particular the sectors highlighted above.
“Given the role that Government wants the sector to play in both the delivery of good public services and in supporting communities, it is vital that we retain this growing workforce and ensure it maintains the skills it needs to succeed in a difficult economic climate. We will be consulting with the sector and key stakeholders on a national strategy to achieve this,” says Julie Wilkes, director of Skills – Third Sector.
- At TSRC, this research has been carried out by Professor Steve McKay and Dr Domenico Morro, as part of TSRC’s Workplace and Workforce work stream. More information about this research.
- Skills Third Sector
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. www.skills-thirdsector.org.uk
- The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
NCVO is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has nearly 8,000 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