Give & Gain Day poll shows that young people volunteer to get ahead at work

New research conducted by Business in the Community shows that young people aged 18 to 24 years old in Britain volunteer more than any other age group (57%) and are also using volunteering to further their career aims (38%) and gain new skills (48%).

In contrast people in all other age groups volunteer to fulfil more traditional desires to ‘give back’ and contribute to their local community (56% on average).

The poll of 2,000+ British adults was carried out by YouGov on behalf of Business in the Community to coincide with Give & Gain Day, happening today. It found that nearly three in five 18-24 year olds (57%) have volunteered in the past three years compared to 31% of 25-34 year olds, 31% of 35-44 year olds and 30% of over 55s.

    Young people also have the highest expectation of business and its role in society, with sixty-two per cent of employees aged 18-24 feeling that their employer could do more to connect with the local area. This is compared to 49% of employees aged 45-54 and 48% of over 55s respectively.

    However across all age groups, the poll showed that employers are not mobilising their people to engage in local communities, with just 10% of all adults saying they’ve volunteered through their employer during work time in the past three years.  

    Commenting, Stephen Howard, Chief Executive Business in the Community said:

    “Business are being increasingly strategic about volunteering as a way to not only make a difference but also to build skills and gain insight about their communities. It’s clear from our poll that savvy young recruits are realising that simply giving back isn’t enough - instead they’re using volunteering smartly to further their career aspirations and get ahead.

    "Yet just 10% of people polled had volunteered in work time, highlighting a huge untapped opportunity for business to take employee volunteering seriously. Doing so will not only help attract the next generation of talent, but it will also create communities that are better places to live, work and do business.”

    Give & Gain Day raises awareness of the power of volunteering by engaging thousands of people to take part. Approximately 15,000 business volunteers across the world, from 240 companies will give almost 74,000 hours volunteering time today, benefitting hundreds of community organisations.

    Tina Varns, Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing Manager at Waitrose, sponsors of Give & Gain Day for the last three years, comments:

    “Volunteering is such an important part of what we do – each of our branches supports its staff (partners) to volunteer for local good causes. Waitrose donates paid hours for Partners to give their time and skills to support local good causes. This will really come alive on Give & Gain Day, when our branches will provide the opportunity for healthcare professionals or local support groups to use our stores to carry out guided tours on issues such as coeliac disease, diabetes and heart health with the aim to help make shopping easier when living with these conditions. Volunteering is a key way for businesses to make a real and visible difference to the communities in which we operate, at the same time it offers staff the opportunity to develop their own skills in a way that’s different from every day operations."