Who works for voluntary organisations?

By gender

  • The majority of the voluntary sector workforce are women, with men making up a third of the total workforce in June 2018.
  • While the proportion of men working for voluntary organisations increased by 10% from 2014 to 2017, it has dropped by 11% since last year.

After several years of growth, the number of men in the sector fell in 2018

By age

  • The proportion of people aged 16–34 year olds working in the sector has grown by 3% since June 2017. They represented 29% of the total workforce in 2018.
  • The growth in the proportion of younger people working in the sector seen since last year is higher than in the public sector (+2%) and the private sector (0%).
  • However, the voluntary sector workforce is still older than the workforce in other sectors with 38% of employees aged 50 years and over compared to 35% for the public sector and 30% for the private sector.

The proportion of younger people working in the voluntary sector has increased since 2017

By ethnicity

  • The voluntary sector has a predominantly white workforce, with people from BAME backgrounds making up 9% of the workforce.
  • This proportion is lower than in the public and private sectors (both 12%) and has not changed in the last six years (our data on ethnicity does not go back further than this). It is also lower than in the UK population as a whole based on the latest census (13%).

The proportion of BAME workers in the voluntary sector remains low and has not changed in the last six years

By nationality

  • The drop in the proportion of EU nationals working in the voluntary sector after the 2016 EU referendum stalled towards the end of 2017.
  • In June 2018, the proportion of EU nationals working in voluntary organisations was 4%, after peaking at 5% in early 2016.
  • For the first time since March 2013, the public sector has a higher proportion of EU workers than the voluntary sector.

The decline in the proportion of EU nationals working in voluntary sector has stalled

More data and research