Low pay for female and disabled charity workers continues to blight sector

Female workers continue to earn significantly less than their male colleagues in a charity sector marred by low pay, official figures have revealed.

Disabled workers are also missing out on good salaries, added the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) figures for 2021.

These also show that the charity sector is blighted by low pay compared to other sectors looked at in its workforce analysis.

The average hourly charity sector pay rate is £13.63, which is only around 1% above the UK average.

In contrast, the digital sector average is £20.74, more than 50% above the UK average. The average hourly rate among creative industries is £19.24, in telecoms it is £17.30 and in the culture sector the rate is £15.08.

Only workers in the gambling and sport sector are paid less.

Women and disabled charity workers are among the hardest hit.

For every £1 earned by a male worker, women earn just 86p and disabled charity staff earn only 87p.

More than two thirds (67.9%) of charity sector roles are held by women and a fifth (20.6%) by those with a disability.

Despite the sector blighted by ongoing salary disparities, the pay gap for women has reduced over the last year.

From January to December 2021 the gender pay gap for women in the sector of 13.6% and for disabled people it is 13.2%, according to figures released this month.

Figures released late last year showed that the gender pay gap was 20.8%.

Diversity reporting

In addition, less one in ten (9.5%) charity workers are from ethnic minority groups.

These latest DCMS figures have emerged as the Operation Transparency campaign group calls for the Charity Commission to require charities to report on diversity in their workforce. They say the move will improve transparency around pay and recruitment.

Campaigners warn that the regulator itself is impacted by a lack of diversity and transparency when recruiting to senior roles.

Last month it emerged that only one Black or minority ethnic candidate may have every been shortlisted to charity the Charity Commission, as the DCMS does not retain information on appointments before 2018.

No BAME or disabled applicants were interviewed for the post when former Conservative minister Baroness Stowell was selected for years ago.

The campaign is backed by among others shadow charities minister Barbara Keeley.

Workforce up on pre-pandemic levels

Meanwhile, the figures also show that charities employ 30,000 more staff that they before the Covid health crisis started,

The DCMS statistics for 2021 show there were 927,000 filled jobs in the charity sector, an increase of 30,000 (3.3%) since pre pandemic levels in 2019. But this is down 4,000 (0.5%) in the number of staff in the civil society sector employed amid lockdowns and the height of the pandemic in 2020.

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