Nearly half of Scottish charity workers want to move on within the year, SCVO finds

A survey of 900 voluntary sector workers in Scotland, carried out by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, finds that 49 per cent want to change jobs


Almost half of charity workers in Scotland say they hope to change jobs in the next year because of low pay and job insecurity, research by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations shows.

A questionnaire drawn up by the umbrella body, which attracted detailed responses from almost 900 voluntary sector workers in Scotland at the end of January and early February, found that 49 per cent were expecting to try to move to another organisation in the next 12 months. A further 4 per cent said they wanted to move roles within their existing employers.

Of those who were looking for a change of role, 51 per cent said their reasons for wanting to move included the need for better pay; the same proportion selected better career prospects; and 42 per cent selected more job security. Respondents were able to choose more than one answer.

The research found that 62 per cent of workers believed their workload had increased over the past year, compared with 35 per cent who said it had remained about the same and 3 per cent who said it had decreased.

Twelve per cent of staff said they felt overworked all the time, 22 per cent said they felt overworked most of the time, and 20 per cent said this was the case about half the time. Ten per cent said they rarely felt overworked, and 1 per cent said they never felt this way.

Seventeen per cent of workers said they felt stressed all or most of the time; 22 per cent said they felt this way about half the time. Sixteen per cent said they rarely felt stressed and 0.5 per cent said they never did.

Asked to rate their satisfaction with their job security, 38 per cent of respondents said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied; 36 per cent said they were satisfied or very satisfied.

Thirty nine per cent of respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied with their pay, the same proportion that said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with it.

Ninety per cent of respondents gave positive responses to whether they felt they carried out worthwhile work, and 79 per cent responded positively to their overall levels of job satisfaction.

John Downie, director of public affairs at the SCVO, said there were two key trends in the research. "On the one hand, people working in charities are generally very enthusiastic about the work they do, the people they work with and making a real difference to other people’s lives," he said. "On the other, when it comes to factors beyond our sector’s control, such as funding cuts, welfare changes and the legacy of the economic crisis, which have led to low pay, job losses and working extra hours to keep up with demand, we’re understandably seeing strong frustration among staff."

Downie said there should be much more positive action from the Scottish government in terms of treating charities as equal partners in the delivery of public services and swifter progress on offering longer-term funding for voluntary sector organisations.

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