Read an analysis of responses to our monthly member survey asking about difficulties in retaining and recruiting staff in the third sector.

The ALLIANCE has published numerous reports on the effect of uncertainty around funding and future service provision, including the ‘Stretched to the limit’ report, the findings of which have been reinforced by our May member survey.

The findings emphasised the continual significant financial pressure on the third sector. Half of respondents described their finances as insecure, and a majority had not yet agreed funding for the year ahead.

Whilst this has many detrimental effects on the forward planning of services across Scotland, the ALLIANCE were interested in following up regarding the impact on the workforce in this unstable economic environment.

Last month, we asked ALLIANCE members if their organisation had experienced difficulty in retaining and/or recruiting new staff – over 60% of respondents said they had difficulties in both retaining and recruiting staff.

Competition with the public sector pay and conditions was cited as one challenge. Public sector organisations are often able to pay more than the third sector as well as offer more benefits and opportunities for development a nd promotion.

We have also heard that where roles are funded, this doesn’t take into account additional costs such as maternity pay, inflation uplifts to salaries and management duties, leaving organisations out of pocket.

Short-term funding was also said to contribute to recruitment challenges. Short-term and unstable funding arrangements make it difficult for organisations to plan ahead and often means that they can only offer temporary contracts.

Recruitment challenges place further strain on existing staff who have to take on additional workloads, stretch resources and make difficult decisions about support and service provision. It is not surprising then that three quarters of survey respondents said that impact on staff burnout and wellbeing have contributed to difficulties retaining staff.

The ALLIANCE’s June member survey provides insight into how the difficult financial climate is placing pressures on organisations and staff wellbeing. Limited staff capacity reduces the services that can be provided. But the further impact this has on wellbeing can make it harder for staff to provide high-quality, person centred, relationship-based care and support, which can in turn lead to less positive experiences and outcomes for people accessing these services.

Moreover, it contributes toward a growing trend of protecting core provision and leaves little room to innovate, design new projects to meet needs and collaborate within and across services and sectors – all of which are needed to ensure that people receive the rights support when they need it.

Note: The survey received responses from 56 ALLIANCE members. Survey respondents were self-selecting and amounted to 1.5 percent of the ALLIANCE’s members, and responses should be understood as a snapshot rather than a comprehensive breakdown across our members.

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