Recruitment easing in voluntary sector

Pay is increasing in the voluntary sector at twice the national
level rate, according to research published last December.

Organisations also experienced less difficulties in recruiting
staff in 2003 than in the previous year.

The actual increase in pay ran at just over 6 per cent in 2003
compared with wage agreements which averaged 3 per cent, the
research found. The study stated that the push on wages was “driven
by the need to retain key personnel at a time when recruiting staff
with the necessary skills is increasingly problematic”. 

Meanwhile, just under six out of 10 voluntary sector bodies
reported difficulties in recruiting last year compared with 66 per
cent in 2002. However, there were growing problems with
retaining staff.

In 2002, four out of 10 organisations reported difficulties with
staff retention while in 2003 the number had risen to more than
half. The main reason cited for staff leaving was the lack of
career structure and progression in the voluntary sector.

Chief executive of the National Council of Voluntary
Organisations Stuart Etherington said that voluntary organisations
must consider how to “offer the kind of personal and career
developments opportunities that will enable them to hold onto
staff.” He added that an overarching body was needed to “champion
the sector as a career option”.

Other findings from the study included: 

•  Female employees received higher pay awards than men
last year. This was because  more efforts were being made to reduce
the gender pay gap.

•  Four out of 10 organisations said that the economic
climate would impact on staff numbers in the next 12 months.

• Three-quarters of bodies offer pension schemes. Average
wages in the sector depended  upon the type of employing

• A chief executive of a charity with a turnover less than
£1m a year  would earn less than £42,500 compared with
more than £100,000 in an organisation with a turnover of more
than £60m.

•  A director’s earnings progresses from just under
£30,000 to nearly £73,000 in the biggest bodies.  

• Specialist staff could earn on average from just under
£20,000 to more than £30,000.

Variations were less among lower paid staff. For example: 

• A care supervisor could earn from £17,970 to
• A care officer could earn from £16,696 to
And in some cases it paid to work for a smaller charity:
• A PA/secretary could earn £16,784 in an organisation
with a turnover of less than a quarter of a million, while for the
largest charities they would be earning only £16,662 on

Remuneration Economic 15th Annual Voluntary Sector Salary
Survey. More details from 

Next month we take a more in-depth look at voluntary sector
salaries using latest Community Care research  

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