The number of people employed by charities rose by 40 per cent in the past decade, according to the NCVO Workforce Almanac, which is published today.
The almanac, compiled in partnership with Skills – Third Sector and the Third Sector Research Centre, shows that at the end of 2010, the total voluntary sector workforce was 765,000, compared with 547,000 in 2001.
The sector employed 2.7 per cent of the UK workforce in 2010, compared with 2 per cent in 2001.
The almanac does not include any figures for 2011. More recent NCVO figures show a five per cent fall in employment in the sector in the year to June 2011.
The almanac, which is based mainly on data from the government’s Labour Force Survey, shows that in 2010 68 per cent of the workforce were women, 51 per cent worked in organisations with fewer than 25 members, and 38 per cent were employed part time.
Voluntary sector employees earned an average of £398 per week, compared to £453 and £467 in the private and public sectors respectively. Men on average earned 36 per cent more per hour than women.
Health and social work made up by far the largest part of the sector, with 57 per cent of all employees.
Jenny Clark, research manager at the NCVO and co-author of the almanac, said the publication highlighted significant differences between the voluntary sector workforce and other sectors.
"This creates a picture of a workforce that is largely part-time, largely made up of women, and largely working in very small organisations," Clark said. "It’s also a lower-paid and more transient workforce than those in other sectors."