Charity shops see rise in staff costs and drop in volunteer hours

29 Sep 2017 News

Staff costs at charity shops have risen while volunteer hours have dropped to the lowest point in five years, according to data collected as part of the annual Charity Shops Survey.

Average pay for charity shop workers rose by 3.2 per cent in the first year since the introduction of the National Living Wage. 

The median salary for charity shop workers is now £16,411. The number of paid workers per shop also rose to its highest ever level of 2.15, which means staff costs rose by 4.7 per cent.

The Charity Shops Survey 2017, will be published for the 26th year next week by Charity Finance magazine in association with Fundraising magazine - both Civil Soceity Media titles - and is supported by the Charity Retail Association. 

This year data was collected from 76 charities which between them have more than 14,000 paid staff in their shops.

The figures cover charities’ most recent financial years, which for most respondents was the 12 months leading to March 2017, the first year since the National Living Wage was introduced in April 2016.

While there has been a pay rise for the average worker of 3.2 per cent, this is not as steep as the 6.8 per cent rise reported the previous year, and the 3.8 per cent rise the year before that.

This is likely because some charities prepared early for the National Living Wage by upping their pay in the years before the regulation was introduced.

Shop managers’ concerns over the impact of the minimum wage have intensified, after it was first rated as a serious source of worry in the previous year’s survey.

Respondents to this year’s survey rated it as a greater concern than last year, while overall staff costs were also rated higher and are now the second greatest source of shop managers’ worry.


As with the previous years, the top concern is the shortage of volunteers. The survey shows average volunteer hours per shop have dropped to their lowest level in five years.

While there has been a reduction in volunteer numbers, there has also been a drop in the number of hours volunteers are prepared to give, an issue which was raised by some respondents.

It is possible that this reduction has contributed to the rise in the number of paid staff, with some charities having to take on an extra paid workers to fill in the gaps left by fewer volunteers.

These trends have led to an overall increase in costs for the sector of 4.1 per cent, in another tough year for charity shops.

Charity Finance and Fundraising magazine subscribers will receive a copy of the Charity Shops Survey with the October issues. It can be pre-ordered here.


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