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Free Content Does volunteering improve employability? Insights from the British Household Panel Survey and beyond

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Policy interest in the role of volunteering as a route to employment is enduring, with an assumption that links between volunteering, employability and employment are positive and straightforward. This has largely been supported by existing evidence, although there have been few longitudinal studies testing the theory. Analysing data from the British Household Panel Survey, we used multivariate techniques to explore the effects of volunteering on moves from being out of work into work; and on retention and wage progression for people in employment. We suggest that the relationship is complex: volunteering may have a positive effect on the labour market position of some individuals in some circumstances; for others it may have a negative, or no, effect. We offer some suggestions for the variations we found: the limitations of the dataset and our analysis; a limited concept of employability; and too narrow a view of volunteering and its impact.

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Keywords: EMPLOYABILITY; EMPLOYMENT; RETENTION; VOLUNTEERING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2013

More about this publication?
  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    Editors: Nick Acheson (Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland), Bernard Harris (University of Strathclyde, UK), Rob Macmillan, (University of Birmingham, UK)

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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