Third Sector HR and Workforce Data for 2021

Results from our People Count 2021 benchmarking study


People Count is our annual HR benchmarking study, enabling participating organisations to compare their key workforce metrics against other similar UK not-for-profit organisations.

In this blog we will explore the key results and the latest third sector hr data from People Count 2021 and look at some trends to emerge over the last 17 years since the study started in 2004. In particular, we will look at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on workforce management in the UK third sector.

The full third sector hr data can be seen in full in the People Count 2021 reports.


More charities are collecting diversity data

About 80% of participating organisations now collect data on ethnicity and disability, which is a slight increase from around 75% in previous years.

This year, 90% of organisations responded to questions about their employees’ gender, which increased from 75% in 2020.

Similarly to last year, around two thirds collect data on employee sexuality.


Ethnic minority employees are less likely to be in management roles

bar graph charity hr data

There is an unequal distribution of people of different ethnic origin in management and non-management jobs.

A far higher proportion of management employees are white or white British than non-management employees.

For ethnic minorities this situation is reversed.

The proportion of non-management employees who are Asian or Asian British, Black or Black British and Mixed & Dual Heritage is about twice the proportion of management employees in each of these groups.


The gender pay gap is smaller than previous years

83% of participants reported that women’s median hourly rate is lower than men’s in their organisation.

pie chart latest charity hr data

However, the median gender pay gap has fallen significantly since 2020 (10%) and from 2019 (5.5%).

The graph below shows the percentage by which women’s median hourly rate is lower than men’s in 2021.

bar graph latest charity hr data

The mean hourly rate of pay for women is 9.6% lower than the mean hourly rate of pay for men, indicating that the higher proportion of men in the most senior roles is affecting the gap when it is measured by looking at the mean hourly rates of pay.

In the previous year, the mean hourly rate of pay for women was 12.8% lower than for men, so this has also fallen.

46% of respondents have undertaken an equal pay audit in the last three years, increased from 33% the previous year. 74% intend to undertake an equal pay audit in the next three years.


UK charities are changing their policy on remote working

This year we introduced a new section of the People Count study on remote working, to capture the new working landscape.

73% of participating organisations have permanently changed their policy on remote working in the last year.

pie chart the latest charity hr data

The median percentage of employees undertaking at least 75% of their hours remotely is 22%, and there is a lot of variation by sector.

bar chart the latest charity hr data

For health care and medical research organisations, a median of 46.1% of employees are working remotely. Whereas for hospices, this is much lower at only 2.3% of employees working remotely.


Employees were less likely to move jobs in 2020-2021

The pandemic had an impact on how likely people were to change jobs. Voluntary turnover has fallen from 16% in 2020 to 12% in 2021, the lowest it has been reported in People Count since 2012.

line graph the latest charity hr data

Involuntary turnover this year is 5.5%, which is an increase from 4.4% in 2020. This aligns with the picture the study presents of recruitment activity, as it fell significantly this year, with respondents recruiting on average 22% of their employees last year, compared to 32% the previous year.


Sickness absence is at an all-time low

The average number of sick days taken per employee per year has fallen to the lowest figure we have seen since the study began in 2004.

Falling from an all-time high of 9.1 days in 2020 to 6.1 days in 2021, the impact of lower sickness absence on average meant that the cost of sickness absence also fell.

line graph the latest charity hr data


More charities than ever are running regular employee surveys

98% of participating organisations have undertaken an employee survey in the last three years.

pie chart the latest charity hr data

33% intend to run more than one employee survey per year. This is higher than last year (28%) and much higher than in 2019 when only 10% of participating organisations intended to run more than one survey.

This could be due to an increased focus on employee experience and engagement and influenced by the availability of pulse surveys.


Third Sector HR and workforce data: The Report

To discover our latest third sector hr data and the full results of the People Count 2021 benchmarking study, you can purchase the reports.

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