Number of voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations*:


 1.0  VCSE Workforce Composition

The voluntary and community sector remains an important employer in Northern Ireland, with an estimated 53,620 employees. This figure represents 7% of the total Northern Ireland workforce

Based on findings from NICVA's Workforce Survey 2018, 66.7% of organisations (n=156) employed paid staff. The average number of employees in these organisations was 14.4.

58% of staff were employed on a full-time basis.

  • 58% of staff employed in organisations that responded to NICVA's Workforce Survey 2018 were employed in full-time roles
  • The proportion of full-time roles is marginally lower than the proportion of full-time roles in the UK voluntary and community sector as a whole (64%), and compared to the overall Northern Ireland workforce in all sectors (65.4%)
  • 13.4% of organisations employed/involved ROI nationals and 14.3% of organisations employed/involved EU mainland nationals (Non-ROI)
Geographic spread of voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland (Data: CCNI)
Geographic spread of voluntary, community and social enterprise organsations in NI (Data: NICVA)


As of February 2020, the proportion of the 6,122 charities registered with the CCNI in Northern Ireland which also had a remit outside of Northern Ireland were as follows - ROI (6.46%), Internationally (6.17%) and UK (4.06%).

As presented in the heatmap and table below, the constituency containing the highest proportion of NI’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations was Belfast South (8.38%) followed by Fermanagh and South Tyrone (6.89%) and North Antrim (6.53%). 

Constituency Heatmap
Heatmap of Community and Voluntary Organisations by Constituency Areas
Belfast East3195.66%
Belfast North3175.63%
Belfast South4728.38%
Belfast West2143.80%
East Antrim2454.35%
East Londonderry3185.64%
Fermanagh and South Tyrone3886.89%
Lagan Valley3295.84%
Mid Ulster3175.63%
Newry and Armagh3636.44%
North Antrim3686.53%
North Down2855.06%
South Antrim2604.61%
South Down3275.80%
Upper Bann2855.06%
West Tyrone2895.13%
Total5634 **100.00%

As presented in the heatmap below, the council areas containing the highest proportion of NI’s voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations were Belfast (21.28%), Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (10.51%) and Newry, Mourne and Down (8.43%). 

Council Heatmap
Heatmap of Community and Voluntary Organisations by New Council Areas
Antrim and Newtownabbey3285.82%
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon59210.51%
Causeway Coast and Glens4648.24%
Derry and Strabane4267.56%
Fermanagh and Omagh4137.33%
Lisburn and Castlereagh3946.99%
Mid and East Antrim4127.31%
Mid Ulster4618.18%
Newry, Mourne and Down4758.43%
North Down and Ards4708.34%
Total5634 **100.00%


* The data for the number of VCSE sector organisations was sourced on 17 February 2020 from the CCNI website. These figures are subject to change on the CCNI register when new charities charities or charities have been removed.

** 448 charities have been omitted from this data as they had no valid postcode or were using an address for correspondence purposes only but were located elsewhere in NI.