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Half of third-sector workers leave for higher pay

Most (77%) third-sector employers are worried about staff leaving over pay

Over half (56%) of third-sector employees who have left the voluntary sector have done so in search of higher-paid jobs, research from insurance company Endsleigh has found.

Recruiting has also become a concern for not-for-profit organisations, with 45% finding it difficult to attract talent.

Employers need to challenge the assumption that third-sector workers should be paid less, according to Peter Reeve, interim CEO of the Charities HR Network which monitors HR standards in the third sector.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “There is a concept called ‘the charity discount,' where charity workers have to accept getting paid less.

“Clearly, in the current context, paying charity workers less is not sustainable and is losing us valuable talent. We need to fix that, but we also need to find a model that keeps our people in other ways.”

Read more: What to do as pay expectations skyrocket

Many households are under financial pressure as the cost of living crisis continues; 5.7 million low-income households had to cut down or skip meals due to the cost of living crisis, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

In order to tackle talent shortages, a third (32%) of third-sector organisations have introduced more wellbeing products, while 39% now offer more flexible working.

A further 24% have also reduced working hours to improve work/life balance.

Some third sector organisations are focusing on their green credentials, with 29% introducing new net zero ambitions, and 20% gaining B-Corp certification.

Reeve said employers must prioritise investing in their workforce.

He said: “Investing in growing and developing your people is key to attracting and retaining talent. If your board or trustees don’t understand why you’re spending money on that – change your trustees.

“There are many ways you can [develop your people,] but high on a job-seekers' list is achieving a sense of value and purpose. If we as cause-based organisations can’t do that, that’s a problem. Employers need to engage everyone with their cause to spread the sense of mission.”

Read more: Public-sector pay rises lag behind private sector

Endsleigh commissioned Censuswide to survey over 300 financial decision makers across charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. The survey and interviews took place between 20th April and 3rd May 2023.