"We have a lot of people coming from jobs in London who want to step down from high-pressure jobs in other sectors and think that working in a charity is the way to do this," said Aaron Pacifico, planning manager in the information systems department at the RSPCA. "When they arrive for interview, they say 'sorry, this is too much for me'.
"People have a perception that because we're a charity we have a very backward IT system and it will all be very low-key. Candidates don't realise that we are a large professional organisation and we need people with serious skills."
The RSPCA has been unable to recruit a systems developer and database manager for 14 months. Other more junior positions at the charity are taking at least six months to fill. Pacifico said that the issue was a continuing problem and he was working with the charity's HR department on a strategy to deal with it.
Sue Fidler, an independent charity IT consultant, said: "There has always been trouble recruiting decent IT staff, partly because charities don't pay as well as the corporate sector.
"The fact remains that people think that working in the charity sector is going to be an easy ride, more laid back and altogether a less stressful environment than working in other sectors."