The voluntary sector workforce has shrunk by 8.7% in the past 12 months according to analysis of the Labour Force Survey by Skills – Third Sector, the skills and training charity.
The UK voluntary sector employs 723,000 people according to data for the third quarter of 2011. Skills – Third Sector say that this equates to a fall of 70,000 (8.7% of the workforce) over the past 12 months. During the same period public sector employment fell by 4.3% and private sector employment rose by 1.5%.
The data shows that there has been a drop in average salaries. The median gross hourly rate in the voluntary sector fell by nearly 3% to £10. For the same period, the data show increases in average pay in both the public and private sectors.
The research was conducted by Skills -Third Sector together with the Third Sector Research Centre (TSRC) and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
Sir Stuart Etherington, NCVO chief executive, said: “The steep drop in the sector workforce is deeply troubling, and provides robust evidence that spending cuts are hitting the voluntary sector disproportionately. With diminishing resources and fewer staff, voluntary organisations are facing a perfect storm and will struggle to meet the increased demand for their services that began with the recession of 2008.”
The Institute of Fundraising responded to the figures by encouraging charities to invest in fundraising training to help save more jobs and to continue to diversify fundraising income streams. It also urged funders to invest in fundraising too.
Peter Lewis, IoF Chief Executive, said: “At this time of cuts everyone understands that they can’t just continue funding the same projects forever. They can, however, help the sector to move to a more sustainable and diverse funding base through investing in fundraisers.”