CIC Association

Serving Community Enterprise

Half of social enterprises will be lost in the next 5 years – and it’s our fault!

About a year ago, I argued the pressing and urgent need for social enterprises to value their people more or risk losing them.

Sadly the latest national salary and careers survey seems to suggest that these warnings have fallen on deaf ears:

• More people expect to be working in the public sector or private enterprise than in social enterprise in 5 years time...

• There will be fewer career opportunities in social enterprise next year than in the private sector

• We pay our staff at least a grade less than their counterparts in the private and public sectors

• Social enterprises are worse at training and developing their people than charities, private companies and local authorities and public bodies are


All of this means that we’re likely to see a growing exodus of people and talent from the sector – indeed I’ve started to see more practitioners leaving their social enterprise employers to join or set up private practices (like I did myself 6 years ago – but that was out of necessity rather than a deliberate career choice, and a story for another time...).

But what of the next generation of social entrepreneurs I hear you cry? All of these new up and coming starlets being born out of the teaching in schools and colleges, who’ve been learning about the wonders of social enterprise? Well, if people have any sense, then they look at employers carefully before committing themselves – and if you had to choose between an employer who paid you less, invested in you less and offered you fewer development opportunities than a private firm or public body, who would you choose?

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