How Covid-19 has Impacted Charity Recruitment

A new research report from CharityJob, covering over 40,000 job postings, explores how the market for charity recruitment has changed since the start of 2020. The pandemic has brought profound change to so many areas of life, and the charity sector is no different.

The number of jobs posted on CharityJob fell dramatically during the first lockdown, recovered throughout 2020 and early 2021 and has recently seen record growth during Summer 2021.

Total number of jobs

The number of vacancies in the sector is a tale of fluctuating fortunes from the start of 2020 to Summer 2021. The charity sector is currently one of several sectors where vacancies are booming, and this is reflected in the data on CharityJob. In January 2020 the sector was in a healthy state, but the number of vacancies fell dramatically during the first lockdown. The months since then have shown a careful, steady recovery. By Spring 2021 the number of vacancies was nearly back to the level it was before Covid-19 hit. Since early summer 2021, however, the number of vacancies has grown beyond pre-pandemic levels.

The factors behind the changes are numerous and varied. Many charities were forced to make redundancies, some used furlough, while others may have delayed hiring new staff due to uncertainty about their future. As things return to normal, the pent-up demand is being released and more jobs are attracting fewer applications.

Applications per job

In line with the changing number of vacancies on CharityJob, there have also been large changes to the numbers applying to them. Average applications per job grew following the first lockdown as the number of vacancies dropped. Before the pandemic, jobs attracted an average of nearly 40 applications, but by May 2020 an average of more than 100 people were applying for each job. Since then, the situation has reversed and is closer to pre-pandemic levels. The charity sector is experiencing a similar, though less dramatic, shortage of applicants to other sectors of the economy. Read more about the factors which may explain the candidate shortage.

Young people sitting round a table working


One of the areas of the charity sector hit most severely by the pandemic is fundraising. Before the pandemic, fundraising jobs were the most popular on CharityJob by a relatively large margin.  Whilst they are still the most numerous roles, they have reduced proportionally over the past 18 months. This may come as no surprise given the difficulties in running fundraising activities.

Where charities work

One change that has the potential to make the most profound difference to the sector is where jobs are located. Prior to the lockdown, over 50% of the roles advertised on CharityJob were based in London. However, since Summer 2020, the proportion of jobs in London has fallen compared to other regions.

Finally, remote working has the potential to make a big impact. The proportion of jobs listed as being remote has increased. It could be that moving away from working in an office, either full-time or at all, can realise significant savings for charities.

To read more on these insights into charity recruitment, download the new report.

Tags: charity sector, charity sector recruitment, fundraising, job market, recruitment, remote working

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Martin Rogers