Research Paper Third Sector Research Centre Working Papers 100
Does volunteering improve employability? Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey
There is considerable support in the literature for the idea that volunteering helps improve employability and acts as a route to employment. Policy initiatives are consistent with this message. We analysed longitudinal evidence from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) to test this theory. Our analysis found that volunteering has a significant, but weak, effect on employability in terms of entry into work. The frequency of volunteering, however, makes a difference to its effects on employment outcomes. The effects also vary according to demographics. The evidence on job retention is weaker, and volunteering appears to have zero or even negative effects on wage progression. While the BHPS has limitations for this kind of analysis, we suggest that too much has been made of the link between volunteering and employability, and indeed that intention is infrequent among volunteers.