Women dominate charity workforce

More than four-fifths of people working in the Republic of Ireland's voluntary sector are women, according to the first survey of sector pay and benefits in the country.

The survey of 317 of Ireland's estimated 19,000 voluntary sector organisations found that 82 per cent of full-time workers and 85 per cent of part-time workers are women. Those figures compare with a UK workforce that is 69 per cent female, according to the NCVO's 2007 Voluntary Sector Workforce Almanac.

The survey, carried out by umbrella body The Wheel also found that the voluntary sector in Ireland generates more than 2.5bn euros (£2bn), accounting for 8.4 per cent of Irish GDP. It employs 8.8 per cent of the country's workforce, with 40,000 full-time and 23,000 part-time staff. Volunteers provide the equivalent of a further 31,000 staff. Half of the employees work in the health sector, and 30 per cent in development and housing.

Nearly a quarter of organisations said they were finding it hard to recruit people with the right skills. Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of The Wheel, said it was a result of rapid growth in the sector in recent years.

She said: "There has been an increase in demand for specific professional skills. There is strong competition to recruit and retain staff, not just within the non-profit sector but also with the commercial sector."

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