Headlines: November 21st, 2003

Voluntary organisations are facing fewer recruitment problems according to the latest annual voluntary sector salary survey by Remuneration Economics – but it shows that holding on to staff is a growing problem.The survey reveals that the percentage of respondent organisations that have faced staff recruitment problems in the last year has fallen by more than six per cent to just below 60 per cent. It also shows that salaries have increased by an
average rate of just over six per cent. That represents a return to the rate of increase in salaries recorded in 2001, after a drop to 4.7% last year.

Remuneration Economics finds, though, that pay increases have not prevented the worsening of voluntary organisations’ staff retention problems that are now experienced by more than half the organisations in the sector. The main reason given for not being able to hold onto staff is a perceived lack of career progress.

Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of National Council for Voluntary Organisations said it was good news that they were beginning to find it easier to recruit staff in a tight labour market. But, he said, in a difficult economic climate voluntary organisations had to consider how they can offer the kind of personal and career development opportunities that would enable them to hold onto staff.

Jennie Saunders, from Remuneration Economics said, “It is clearer than ever that a strategic body is urgently required to champion the sector as a career option.” The year had seen organisations prepared to award substantial increases in salary on an individual basis, far in excess of the general pay award implemented across the organisation, driven by the need to retain key personnel at a time when recruiting staff with the necessary skills was increasingly problematic.