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Employer support of volunteering: Underlying characteristics of participation and presence of support measures, 2013

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Released: 2016-06-27

Employer support plays a key role in the volunteering habits of many working Canadians.

A new study, based on the 2013 General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participating, found a positive correlation between employers who offered a workplace conducive to volunteering and employees' volunteering rates.

While the link between employer support and volunteering hours had been established previously, this study adds insight by going beyond just those who volunteer. By doing so, it provides a broader picture of the entire working community, including non-volunteers.

The study reveals that of all employees aged 20 to 64 who were surveyed in 2013, those who received support from their employer (55%) were more likely to have volunteered in the previous 12 months than those who received no support (37%).

In all, 44% of the target group reported working for an employer that offered some form of volunteering support. Employers encourage employees to participate in volunteer activities in a variety of ways, such as permission to use facilities and equipment, paid time off, modified work schedule and recognition for volunteering.

A host of other factors influence volunteering rates, including educational level, age, household income, and the presence and age of children.

Regardless of these factors, employer support remains a predictive factor of volunteering.

Not all industry sectors offered the same level of support for employees.

For example, manufacturing and construction were among the industries with the lowest proportion of employees, about one-third, who reported having received some volunteering support from their employers. Some of these industries had lower than average volunteer rates.

At the other end of the spectrum, more than 60% of employees in finance and insurance, and public administration received employer support for volunteering. Their volunteer rates were between 50% and 60%.

About one-third of employees in the manufacturing and utilities group and the trades, transport, equipment operators and related occupations group received employer support for volunteering, while volunteer rates were just under 30% for employees in this group.


The fact sheet, "Employer support of volunteering: Underlying characteristics of participation and presence of support measures," is now available online in Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey (Catalogue number89-652-X), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

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