12 – What skills are required in the voluntary sector?

  • Voluntary sector employees were highly qualified, with more than one-third (38%) holding a degree level qualification or higher in 2011. This is slightly lower than employees within the public sector (41%) but higher than employees within the private sector (23%). Overall more than seven of every ten (72%) voluntary sector employees held an A Level qualification, its equivalent or higher (LFS).

Highest qualification of employees by sector, 2011 (headcount, %)

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Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • 15% of voluntary sector employers reported having staff with skills gaps, down from 18% the previous year. The proportion of employers who reported having staff with skills gaps is higher in both the private sector (18%) and public sector (20%) (UKCES).
  • Voluntary sector employers, who had skills gaps within their organisation, were most likely to report gaps for administrative/clerical staff (33%) and managers (28%) (UKCES).
  • Of those employers who had skills gaps within their organisation, the main cause cited was staff being new to the job and their training not being completed yet (both 57%). Other reasons included staff lacking motivation (32%), staff benefiting from training but their performance has not improved sufficiently (27%) and staff having not received the appropriate training (27%) (UKCES).

Incidence of skills gaps by job role and sector, 2011 (%)

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Source: UKCES (Base: Those employers who reported skills gaps within their organisation)
  • Almost six in ten (58%) of voluntary sector employers who had skills gaps within their organisation reported job-specific skills gaps. Just under half reported problem solving, team working and customer-handling skills gaps (43%, 46% and 44% respectively) (UKCES).
  • The main impact of skills gaps within the voluntary sector was an increase in the workload of other employees (84%). This was followed by having difficulty introducing new working practices within the organisation (46%) and having difficulty meeting quality standards (42%) (UKCES).
  • The main action taken by voluntary sector employers to overcome non-proficient staff was to increase training activity/spend or to increase/expand trainee programmes (83%). Other actions taken included more supervision of staff (65%) and more staff appraisals/performance reviews (58%) (UKCES).