Low pay in the charity sector

Year of publication
The Living Wage Foundation

This report contains new insights about pay and the
Living Wage in the UK charity sector; it looks at the
extent of low pay across the sector and where it can
be found – geographically and demographically – as well
as considering which charities have implemented the real
Living Wage and what the impact has been for those

The data on low pay has been collected by NCVO (National Council
for Voluntary Organisations) and is taken from the Labour
Force Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics
(with a sample size of around 40,000 UK households),
where survey respondents self-identify as working for a
‘charity, voluntary organisation or trust’ as their main job
or place of work.

The data on Living Wage charities is from a wider survey of Living Wage accredited employers undertaken in 2016.

Key Findings

  • Across the UK there are still five and a half million people – or 21% of employees – earning below the Living Wage. In the charity sector that rises to 26% (and 29% in Scotland).
  • A third of women (30.4%) in the charity sector earn less than the real Living Wage compared to just a fifth (21%) of men. This is higher than the UK average across sectors (27% women in low paid work) despite women making up the majority (65%) of the workforce in the sector. Overall, almost three quarters (73%) of low-paid charity sector workers are women.
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