Charities ‘less ethnically diverse’ than the private and public sectors, research finds

The charity sector is less ethnically diverse than organisations across both the public and private sectors, research has highlighted.

While 86% of the public and private sector workforce identify as White, this proportion increases to 90% among charity workers.

The charity sector is “less ethnically diverse than the private and public sectors” and the proportion of Black and Asian and minority ethnic employees in charities is “comparatively low, with numbers not changing for almost a decade”, found the NCVO in its UK Civil Society Almanac 2022.

In addition, “the charity sector is disproportionately staffed by women and its workforce has an older age profile than the private sector”, the research found.

The number of men working in charities has remained at 33% following a dip in 2018.

While the charity workforce has a similar age profile as the public sector it is older than among private firms.

Over the last two years the NCVO found there has been a large increase in the number of staff over 50 years old and those with disabilities.

In addition, charity sector roles are “slightly overrepresented” in and around London.

Among charity workers almost a third (32%) are based in London and the south of England, while only one in ten roles are in the South West and only 8% in the North West and East of England. Elsewhere, 1% of roles are in Scotland.

The findings have emerged amid a raft of recent evidence around a lack of action to address diversity in the charity sector, particularly in senior roles.

A survey published earlier this month by Newton Investment Management found that only 36% of charities representatives say diversity is being reflected on their board, down 3% on the previous year.

A separate survey released by charity leaders' body ACEVO this month found that just 7% of charity leaders are from Black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds.

Home working

The NCVO’s almanac also found that almost a third of charity staffers work at least partially remotely, with 22% working from their home and 8% in different places with their home as a base.

The proportion of home and hybrid workers, who share time between office and home working, in the charity sector is higher than in the public and private sectors.

In the public sector 13% are home workers, while only 3% work from home part of the week.

Meanwhile, in the private sector 17% of staff are home workers and 8% are hybrid workers.

The NCVO’s Almanac has also revealed that the charity sector is growing faster than any other sector over the last decade, contributes £20bn to the UK economy, but is in a “precarious” financial situation as it is increasingly reliant on public donations amid the cost-of-living crisis.

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