‘Parallel cost-of-living crisis’ could force racially minoritised staff out of the sector, former SCC chief warns

Elizabeth Balgobin says the sector has not done enough to recognise how income and wealth inequality already affects racially minoritised staff

Elizabeth Balgobin
Elizabeth Balgobin

A “parallel cost-of-living crisis” could force racially minoritised staff out of the charity sector, the former head of the Small Charities Coalition has warned.

In a post on LinkedIn, Elizabeth Balgobin warned that the sector had not done enough to recognise how income and wealth inequality already affects ethnic minority staff or the pressure it will place on those employees as the economy worsens.

Balgobin, who has held interim chief executive roles in a range of charities and led the since-closed SCC on a temporary basis in 2019, wrote yesterday: “When we talk about the cost-of-living crisis and ever-rising inflation, we have not been addressing the income and wealth gap for the black, brown and racially minoritised people working in our not-for-profit sector, except in terms of debating publishing our ethnicity pay gaps.”

She praised charities that had taken steps to address racial inequality facing their staff, but said the sector response as a whole was “a mixed bag”.

Balgobin wrote: “We know that there are fewer people of colour working in the sector, but we don’t have a good picture of distribution across causes, salary and roles.

“We are not having the conversation about the real potential for there to be even fewer people of colour in the sector because of redundancy decisions, closure of, by and for organisations, and sheer burnout.

“We fail to attract new people of colour into the sector and those that are here feel everything from underappreciated through to abused.

“We have to have an honest, grown-up conversation about the triangulation of need, services and funding and the impact of this cost-of-living crisis on the people of colour in the sector.

“It affects us all, not just those of us who are people of colour.”

Highlighting some of the same inequities in the charity sector, the GiveBlack initiative published research on Tuesday calling for the creation of a black philanthropy foundation to support black-led voluntary bodies.

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