The number of people employed in the voluntary sector fell by almost 9 per cent from the third quarter of 2010 and the same period in 2011, equating to a loss of 70,000 jobs, according to figures released today.
The number of people employed in the public sector fell by 4.3 per cent during the same period, while the figure for the private sector increased by 1.5 per cent.
The findings come from an analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey, a quarterly survey of 60,000 UK households. The analysis by the Third Sector Research Centre, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Skills – Third Sector found that the number of people employed in the voluntary sector fell from 793,000 in the third quarter of 2010 to 723,000 in the same period last year – a reduction of 8.7 per cent.
The number of women employed in the voluntary sector fell by 10 per cent over the year, while the number of men fell by 5.4 per cent. Certain regions suffered larger cuts than others, with the North East, London, the South East and Scotland particularly affected.
The data also showed there was a decrease of almost 3 per cent in the median gross hourly pay for voluntary sector roles, from £10.29 per hour to £10.00 per hour. In both the public and private sectors there was a pay increase over the same period.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said the findings were "deeply troubling" and that they provided "robust evidence that spending cuts are hitting the voluntary sector disproportionately".
"With diminishing resources and fewer staff, voluntary organisations are facing a perfect storm and will struggle to meet the increased demand for their services that began with the recession of 2008," he said.
"The sector is playing its part by looking for efficiencies or more innovative ways to deliver services, but government must play its part too. In particular, it is essential that government at all levels make cuts intelligently and with adequate notice, in accordance with the Best Value Guidance for working with the voluntary sector."
Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills – Third Sector, said the reduction in average pay in the sector was a serious cause for concern.
"The sector’s ability to retain a well-motivated and talented workforce will be critical to its ability to meet the future challenge of delivering higher-quality services to more people with fewer resources," he said.