British charities no haven for laid-off bankers

Wed Dec 3, 2008 10:03am EST
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By Rebekah Curtis

LONDON (Reuters) - People dumped from finance jobs who hope to find employment in the voluntary sector may have to reconsider, because as Britain slips into recession, ailing charities are struggling to absorb the unemployed.

So far 180,000 financial professionals worldwide have lost their jobs as banks implode, prompting talented and financially astute people to seek work in other sectors.

Some of those job-hunters are turning to teaching maths and science at schools. But British charities are also seeing increased interest from the newly unemployed.

"In our shops people come and volunteer who have been made redundant. And in the head office too," said Rosie Shannon, spokeswoman for charity Save the Children.

But unless people are prepared to serve in shops or fulfill administrative roles for nothing, they may struggle to find the unpaid posts to fill gaps in both their time and their resumes.

And as a tighter-fisted public cuts down on donations and corporate partnerships fall by the wayside, charities are also beginning to lay employees off and turn away volunteers.

International development charity VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) said it received 2,572 enquiries for voluntary work between September and mid-November this year, more than double the 1,233 it received for the same period in 2007.

VSO said that unless applicants had management experience, it struggled to place them.   Continued...

<p>A customer browses a clothes rail at an Oxfam store in Dalston in east London November 28, 2008. REUTERS/Simon Newman</p>