08 – How much does the voluntary sector spend on staff?

  • Expenditure on staff can be identified through the accounts of voluntary organisations, as reported in NCVO’s UK Civil Society Almanac 2013. Staff costs cut across the range of expenditure categories within the accounts as organisations employ staff to undertake a range of activities, from income generation to service provision.
  • Staff costs can include: the costs of employing staff who work for the charity whether or not the charity has incurred those costs, employers’ national insurance costs, and pension costs and so are higher than employees’ salary costs.

Voluntary sector expenditure on staff costs by size of organisation, 2010/11

  Micro Small Medium Large Major Total
Wages and Salaries 18.5 241.9 2199.8 4258.5 6059.2 12777.9
Social Security 0.5 15 153.9 339.2 587.6 1096.2
Pension costs 0 4.5 53.2 160.3 357.5 575.5
Staff costs (£ millions) 19 261 2406.9 4758 7004.3 14449.7
Staff costs (% of expenditure) 5.4 13.6 37.7 43.9 40.5 39.3
Organisations that employ staff (%) 0 7.5 55.2 87.7 89 12.2
  • In 2010/11, voluntary organisations spent £14.5 billion employing staff. Over time it appears that staff costs have fallen as a proportion of total expenditure, from 43% in 2001/02 to 39% in 2010/11.
  • Nearly nine-tenths (88%) of this expenditure goes on wages to the staff themselves, with a further 4% going on pension costs. In total, the voluntary sector spends £1.1 billion on social security costs associated with employing staff – mainly employers’ National Insurance contributions. These costs make up 8% of the cost of employing staff.

Voluntary sector expenditure on staff costs, 2005/06 – 2010/11 (£ billions)

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  • The average cost per FTE employee within the sector is £21,843, but this varies from £18,110 within medium organisations through to £26,349 within major organisations.
  • Over four-fifths of staff costs (81%) are incurred by large and major organisations. Large organisations in particular, spend 44% of their total expenditure on staff. This is unsurprising, given that over nine out of ten large (88%) and major (89%) organisations employ staff, compared to 27% of small and 4% of micro organisations. Overall, just over one fifth (22%) of voluntary organisations employ staff.
  • The amount spent on staff costs also varies by sub-sector. Using the International Classification of Non Profit Organisations (ICNPO) classification, we can see which types of organisation spend more on staff. This varies because of the nature of their work – trusts and foundations focus on making grants, parent-teacher associations and village halls are volunteer-led, while organisations working in social care and health rely on paid care staff.

Voluntary sector staff costs in 2010/11, by sub-sector (% of total spending)

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