02 – Who works in the voluntary sector?

  • In 2011, 501,000 women and 231,000 men were employed in the voluntary sector, meaning that more than two-thirds (68%) of the voluntary sector workforce were women. A similar ratio was found in the public sector (65%). Both sectors lie in stark contrast to the private sector (39%) (LFS).

Voluntary sector employees by gender, 2001-2011 (headcount)

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Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • Voluntary sector employees are slightly older than those in the private and public sectors. Almost four in ten (39%) of paid staff working in the voluntary sector are aged fifty and over, compared to around a third (33%) of the public sector and just over a quarter (27%) of the private sector workforce (LFS).

Age of employees by sector (headcount, %)


Source: Labour Force Survey (Base: All people aged 16 and over)
  • The voluntary, public and private sectors all employ roughly the same proportion (10%) of black and minority ethnic people (LFS).
  • Almost one-fifth (18%) of the voluntary sector workforce has a disability, a higher proportion than both the public and private sectors (16% and 14% respectively) (LFS).