Sector's paid workforce grew by six per cent last year, new analysis shows

Figures released by Skills - Third Sector show a significant increase in the proportion of men working in the voluntary sector

Workforce: 804,000 work in the sector
Workforce: 804,000 work in the sector

The voluntary sector’s paid workforce grew by 6 per cent to 804,000 employees in 2012, according to an analysis published today.

The analysis was carried out by the workforce development charity Skills – Third Sector in partnership with the Third Sector Research Centre and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. It was based on the Labour Force Survey of the Office for National Statistics.

The three organisations publish quarterly data as part of a continuing study of sector workforce trends. The latest figures show a rise of 45,000 in the number of paid employees in the voluntary sector. The total workforce is now 804,000, the second highest since measurement started in 1996.

The sector workforce peaked in December 2010, when there were 806,000 employees. The voluntary sector accounted for 2.7 per cent of all employment in the UK by the end of 2012.

The number of men working in the sector rose by 42,000 to 278,000, accounting for almost all of the increase. Men accounted for 34.6 per cent of the total sector workforce at the end of 2012, an increase from 31.1 per cent at the start of the year.

Skills – Third Sector said the reason for this increase was unclear, although it might be that the workforce increased more in sub-sectors where there is a high proportion of male workers.

By the end of 2012 there were 294,000 part-time employees, making up 36.6 per cent of the total workforce, the analysis shows, compared with 298,000 part-time employees, or 39.3 per cent of the total, at the end of 2011.

But there was a rise in the number of employees who were in part-time work because they could not find full-time employment, up from 40,000 to 51,000.

Keith Mogford, chief executive of Skills – Third Sector, said the figures showed the sector was continuing to maintain its employment levels in tough times.

"But the number of non-permanent jobs being created is a concern and suggests that many employers are waiting for the economy to pick up," he said.

David Ainsworth

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