01 – How many people work in the voluntary sector?

  • An estimated 732,000 people were employed in the voluntary sector in the UK during 2011. This figure represents a decrease of 33,000 since the previous year. However, the number of people employed in the sector in 2011 is 34% greater than in 2001, representing an increase of around 185,000 employees (LFS).

Total UK voluntary sector paid workforce, 2001-2011 (headcount)

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Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • The sector now employs around 2.6% of the UK workforce, a proportion that has slowly increased from 2% in 2001, but has fallen slightly from 2.7% in 2010 (LFS).
  • In 2011, the voluntary sector employed an estimated 583,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) paid staff, down from 617,000 the previous year (LFS).
  • During 2011, the public sector employed 6.9 million people, an increase of 547,000 since 2001. Over the same time period, the private sector workforce experienced a slight decrease of 53,000, which was at 20.1 million people in 2011, slightly more than in 2010 (LFS).

Total UK paid workforce by sector, 2001-2011 (headcount, thousands, and percentage change)


Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)