This may sound counter-intuitive given the Tory focus on the “Big Society”. But charities are shedding jobs much faster than the public sector, according to a survey published today.
Analysis of the Labour Force Survey, collated from ONS data, suggest that the voluntary sector now* employs 723,000 people – a fall of 70,000 over the previous 12 months.
That drop equates to 8.7 per cent. In comparison public sector employment fell by 4.3 per cent while private sector employment rose by 1.5 per cent in the same period.
Most of the drop is among female employees, although my guess is this may reflect a large proportion of women in the sector. The figures also suggest a drop of 3 per cent in pay against small increases in the public and private sectors.
The findings were produced by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, the Third Sector Research Centre and Skills – Third Sector.
They don’t entirely negate the idea of the Big Society, which was always more about people volunteering than being paid salaries by charities. But the survey offers a clear insight into the heavy impact on government cuts on charitable organisations, many of which have seen the financial rug pulled from beneath them in the last 18 months.
Gareth Thomas, the shadow minister for civil society, says the research as “underlines the gap between his (David Cameron’s) rhetoric and the reality for charities and community groups of funding cuts, job losses and reduced services.”
* Figures for the third quarter of 2011.