Sector workforce study highlights rise in temporary and part-time employment

Analysis of the Labour Force Survey finds the number of employees in the voluntary sector fell by 4,000 between March and June

The number of voluntary sector employees fell by 4,000 between March and June, according to a new study.

Analysis of the Labour Force Survey, carried out by the skills body Skills -Third Sector with the Third Sector Research Centre and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, showed that the number of paid voluntary sector workers dropped by 0.6 per cent in the second quarter of the year compared with the previous quarter, to 775,000 people.

The number of people working on temporary contracts in the sector increased from 83,000 to 98,000 over the same period.

The figures showed that the number of people working part time because they could not find full-time work increased from 44,000 in quarter one to 53,000 in quarter two – a rise of 21 per cent. There are 289,000 part-time employees in the sector.

"These findings show that, while the numbers employed by the sector are beginning to stabilise, the working conditions in the sector are changing," said Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills -Third Sector. "Increasing flexibility of employment may well be a rational response to the current state of the economy and funding uncertainty. However, we are concerned that such changes may stifle the ability of employers in the sector to invest in the skills needed to overcome challenges over the long term."

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said workforce numbers were a key indicator of the health of the charity sector.

"Today’s figures are a tentative sign that employment is stabilising after the sudden decline that shook the sector last year," he said. "Nevertheless, it’s clear from the increases in temporary contracts and in the number of people working part-time who would prefer to work full-time that many organisations are still dealing with challenging and uncertain financial futures."

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