Employee profile

The profile of voluntary sector workers continues to be predominantly female, slightly older and university educated

  • Women continue to make up about two thirds of the voluntary and public sectors (66% and 65% respectively) but only 40% of the private sector workforce. By June 2015, 547,000 females and 279,000 males worked in the voluntary sector. This represents a  slight increase in the number of male voluntary sector workers and a decrease in the numbers of female workers in the last year or so.
  • Fewer than one in ten (9%) voluntary sector employees are from black and minority ethnic groups, a lower proportion than both the public and private sectors (both at 11%).
Voluntary sector employees by gender, June 2004 to June 2015 (headcount, thousands)
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  • Voluntary sector workers are slightly older than public and private sector workers, with around 38% aged 50 years or older, compared with 34% in the public sector and 29% in the private sector.
  • In line with broader demographic changes in the UK, the voluntary sector workforce has also become slightly older with time. In June 2015, nearly 12% of voluntary sector workers were over 60, compared to 8% in June 2004.
Age of employees by sector, June 2015 (% of total workforce)
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  • Nearly half (46%) of voluntary sector employees have a university degree. This is comparable to the public sector (49%) but far higher than the private sector (27%). Only 2% of voluntary sector workers have no qualifications, the lowest of all three sectors.
Qualification of employees by sector, June 2015 (% of total workforce)
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Workforce and organisation type

Voluntary sector employees mostly work for small organisations

  • Most voluntary sector employees (47%) work at small organisations of fewer than 25 employees whilst only 6% work for large organisations of more than 500 employees.
  • By comparison, 35% of public sector and 13% of private sector workers work for organisations of over 500 employees.
  • However, the proportion of employees working in larger organisations has increased over time, with 38% of people working in an organisation of 50 or more in June 2015, compared with 27% in June 2004. This matches what we know about voluntary organisations more generally, namely that the sector predominantly comprises smaller organisations but that the number of larger organisations has increased over time.
Employees by organisation size and sector, June 2015 (% of total workforce)
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  • In June 2015, 31% of voluntary sector workers lived in either London or the South East. Again, this reflects our understanding of the geographic distribution of voluntary sector organisations. These areas also account for the highest proportions of public and private sector workers, although at a slightly lower rate compared with the voluntary sector (25% and 29% respectively).
Workforce regional breakdown, June 2015
RegionHeadcount
London133,146
South East120,798
South West88,112
East of England73,326
North West66,017
Yorkshire and the Humber62,320
West Midlands57,438
East Midlands42,732
North East36,055
England679,943
Scotland90,866
Wales36.326
Northern Ireland19,376
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Workforce activity

Social work remains the key activity of voluntary sector employees

  • As of June 2015, nearly 300,000 people were employed in social work, representing 36% of the voluntary sector workforce. Residential care was the second most common form of voluntary sector work, with 14% of the workforce employed in this area, the equivalent of nearly 117,000 employees.
  • The employment industries of the voluntary sector workforce differs greatly from that of the public and private sector. Nearly 60% of the public sector are employed in education and health, whilst the five largest employment industries of the voluntary sector only account for 10% of the private sector workforce.
The five largest employment industries in the voluntary sector compared to other sectors, June 2015 (% of total workforce)
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Employment type

An increasing number of voluntary sector workers are employed on permanent contracts

  • By June 2015, nearly 91% of employees were on permanent contracts, although this was still slightly lower than both the public (93%) and private (95%) sectors.
  • However, of the remaining 9% on temporary contracts, 71% were on a fixed contract which was a higher number than in the public sector (57%) and more than double that in the private sector (29%). Temporary voluntary sector workers were less likely to be temping through an agency (2%) then in the public and private sectors (14% and 23% respectively).
  • Less than one in ten employees, equating to 74,500 people, was looking for a new (8%) or additional (1%) job.
  • 62% of employees were on full time contracts; this was slightly lower than both the public (71%) and private (75%) sectors. Of the 38% of part time employees, 75% chose not to work full-time.
Job security for temporary employees by sector, June 2015 (% of total temping)
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UK Civil Society Almanac 2016 / The Voluntary Sector /Volunteers and workforce /Work

Published: 08-04-2016 / Tagged: | | | | |

https://data.ncvo.org.uk/a/almanac16/workforce-2/