Three in five charity workers looking to quit amid low pay concerns, survey finds

The charity sector is blighted by poor pay, particularly for female employees, a survey is warning.

It has found that three in five charity sector workers are already planning to move job within the next year, with the search for better pay the most cited reason.

Female workers are the hardest hit by poor pay, with just one in ten earning more than £51,000, compared to almost a quarter of male respondents. Of those surveyed 14% of men held director of chief executive level roles, compared to only 4% of female respondents.

The survey of more than 1,800 charity workers has been carried out by employment website CharityJob. Of those surveyed a third were in management roles.

While three quarters of respondents, who have been in their job for longer than a year, received a pay rise over the last year “overall satisfaction with pay is low”, says CharityJob.

Just under half “didn’t feel their pay was fair” and seven in ten do not feel their salary reflects the current cost of living. This proportion rises to more than eight in ten among the third of respondents who earn between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.

One in four respondents said they did receive other financial support, with cost of living payments the most common form.

“In 2023 we received a one-off cost of living payment, which was for a few hundred pounds”, said one.

A report from CharityJob following its survey urges charities to “focus on raising lower salaries in line” with the Living Wage. This is calculated by the Living Wage Foundation and is based on an hourly rate of £12 for outside London and £13.15 an hour in the capital.

Based on a 37.5-hour week this puts the UK living wage at £23,400 a year outside of London and at £25,642 in the capital.

“These findings show the importance of a transparent and consistent salary review process based on experience, performance and market rates,” said Raya Wexler, co-founder of CharityJob.

“But a holistic approach is crucial to keeping staff motivated to stay at your charity. That means providing opportunities for training, skill development and career progression; and fostering a workplace where they feel supported and heard.”

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