Staff turnover in the voluntary sector decreased significantly in the year to March 2010 but is still higher than the UK average, a new report indicates.
The study of 90 medium and large organisations by management and HR consultancy Agenda Consulting found there was "quite a significant drop" in the proportion of people leaving their jobs compared with 2008/09.
Work areas experiencing noticeable drops in turnover included fundraising and retail.
On average, 20 per cent of staff left their roles in the 2009/10 financial year, compared with 21.3 per cent in the previous year.
Despite the fall, the sector turnover rate remains significantly higher than the overall UK figure of 13.5 per cent.
Roger Parry, director of Agenda Consulting, said the decrease was related to economic conditions. Because organisations were reducing staff numbers and not hiring, there were fewer vacancies and therefore fewer places for staff to go to, he said.
The report, People Count Third Sector 2010, also shows differences between types of employment in the sector.
The average turnover for fundraising staff decreased significantly in the past year, from 24 to 19 per cent. The rate for retail and shop employees fell even further, from 25 per cent to 18.4 per cent, while turnover for care staff dropped from 23.9 per cent to 19 per cent. But turnover of central-function employees, such as those working in administrative or human resources roles, rose by one percentage point to 18.4 per cent over the same period.
The report adds that turnover of staff leaving voluntarily fell by two percentage points during the year. However, turnover because of redundancy, which may be influenced by the economic downturn, increased slightly, from 1.2 per cent to 1.5 per cent.
Turnover fell in both management and non-managerial posts.
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations contributed to the report. In his foreword to the research, chief executive Sir Stuart Etherington warns that spending cuts will result in the sector reducing its workforce over the next six to 12 months.
"Whatever the financial challenges, we must not lose sight of our commitment to our workforce and to being a good employer," he said.