06 – How secure are jobs in the voluntary sector?

  • In 2011, just under nine of every ten (89%) voluntary sector employees were on permanent contracts. Both the private and public sectors had a higher proportion of employees on permanent contracts (95% and 92% respectively) (LFS).
  • More than six out of every ten (62%) temporary workers within the voluntary sector were on a fixed-term contract. This equates to 47,000 people. The voluntary sector had the same proportion of temporary employees on fixed-term contracts as the public sector, but the percentage was much lower in the private sector (28%) (LFS).

Type of voluntary sector temporary work, 2001-2011 (headcount, %)

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Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • Within the voluntary sector, 31% of those employees on temporary contracts were on a contract lasting less than one year. This is slightly higher than within the public sector (30%) but lower than the private sector (36%). An additional 13% of temporary employees within the voluntary sector were on contracts lasting between one and two years (LFS).
  • Roughly 8% of voluntary sector employees were looking for a different or an additional job in 2011, amounting to 57,000 people. A similar proportion can be found in the private sector (8%), but the share is slightly lower in the public sector (6%) (LFS).
  • Of those employees in the voluntary sector, looking for additional or different work, most of them (88%) were looking for a new job to replace their main job while just more than 12% were looking for an additional job. Over a third (35%) of those voluntary sector employees looking for a new job were doing so because they thought their current job may come to an end, equating to 17,000 people (LFS).


Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • Labour turnover within the voluntary sector in 2011 was 18%, the highest level recorded since 2003. The main reason was through resignations, which amounted to 10%, with redundancies accounting for 4% (Xpert HR, 2011).