04 – What type of work is undertaken in the voluntary sector?

  • Around 441,000 people, over six out of ten employees in the voluntary sector, were employed in the ‘health and social work’ employment category (LFS).
  • Within this broader category, almost 39% were employed in ‘social work activities without accommodation’, amounting to 297,000 people. Voluntary sector employees account for 32% of the overall UK workforce within ‘social work activities without accommodation’. A further 110,000 people (15% of the voluntary sector workforce) were employed in ‘residential care activities’ (LFS).

Then ten largest voluntary sector employment industries, 2011 (headcount, thousands)

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Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • Looking in more detail at the 281,000 people who were employed in the voluntary sector within ‘social work activities without accommodation’, 25,000 were employed in ‘child day-care activities’ and 16,000 were employed in ‘social work activities without accommodation for the elderly and disabled’ (LFS).
  • Of the 110,000 people employed within the voluntary sector working in ‘residential care activities’, 43,000 were employed in ‘residential care activities for people with learning disabilities, mental health and substance abuse’, 36,000 were working in ‘residential care activities for the elderly and disabled’ and 13,000 were employed in ‘residential nursing care activities’ (LFS).

Largest voluntary sector employment occupations, 2011 (headcount, thousands)


Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • Focusing now on occupation categories, 64,000 voluntary sector workers (11%) were employed as care assistants/home carers, 37,000 (7%) work as housing and welfare officers and 18,000 (3%) are youth/community workers (LFS).