The number of people employed in the voluntary sector rose 6.5 per cent to 778,000 last year, bucking the trend of job losses in the public and private sectors.
The figures have been taken from the latest Labour Force Survey and compiled as part of a joint research project by the Third Sector Research Centre and the NCVO in partnership with sector skills body Skills - Third Sector.
The research shows that the number of employees in the voluntary sector was up from about 730,000 in March 2009 to 778,000 in March 2010. Employment in the public and private sectors fell by 0.5 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively over the same period.
Janet Fleming, director of knowledge management at Skills - Third Sector, said she was surprised at what she called the sudden rise.
"I suspect that the voluntary sector is doing better than others because 93 per cent of sector employees work in social care, health, education or housing, and these industries have still been growing," she said.
"But public sector cuts will bite these industries, and when they do it’s likely there is will be a dip."