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UK Civil Society Almanac 2022


Published: 18 October 2022

16.3m people volunteered through a group, club or organisation in 2020/21

Over half of the population volunteered their time informally at least once during the pandemic, while formal volunteering rates have remained steady

The voluntary sector’s workforce grew 3% over the last year, the fastest growth of any sector over the last decade

  • Almost one million people worked in the voluntary sector in 2022, about 3% of the UK workforce
  • The voluntary sector workforce has grown by more than a quarter (27%) since 2011
  • Social work is the largest employing subsector (38%)
  • Women make up two thirds of the voluntary sector workforce.
  • The amount of disabled people is growing, with just over 1 in 5 (23%) people identifying as disabled in the voluntary sector.
90% of the voluntary sector workforce is White.

There is less ethnic diversity in the voluntary sector workforce than both the public and private sector.

The voluntary sector contributes about £20bn to the UK’s GDP

  • Two-fifths of voluntary organisations rely on the public for most of their income, while more than a quarter don’t receive their income from a majority source
  • The voluntary sector spent £56.9bn in 2019/20
  • The voluntary sector contributed about £20 bn to the UK’s economy, or 1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
  • The social services subsector contributed the most, worth £3.8 bn, followed by the international subsector with £3.1bn and health with £2.5 bn
  • The voluntary sector employed over 950,000 workers in 2022
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