The future of Benefacts is uncertain. Find out more

Irish nonprofits employ 165,075 people, up 6.5% on the number we reported in 2019. Most of the increased employment is in large or medium-sized nonprofits.

In 57 higher education and major health and social care ("Section 38") organisations, 63,316 employees are paid as though they were public servants.

48,329 people work in 1,697 nonprofits where the State is the principal source of income.

The remaining 53,429 work in nonprofits where the State is the minority funder or where there is no State funding at all.

Read more about where Benefacts gets data on nonprofit sector employment.

Profile of nonprofit employment

Trellis Chart
Trellis Chart
Trellis Chart

Employment profiles by sector

Most people working in the nonprofit sector are employed in healthcare, social care including disability services, higher education and local development including social enterprise.


Click on a segment below to drill-down

Employee numbers in nonprofits by sector

Source: Benefacts

Higher pay in Irish nonprofits

“Higher pay” means total remuneration of €70,000 or more. Most higher paid people in Irish nonprofits work in third level education and in “Section 38“-funded health and social care charities.

Employee renumeration

Higher pay for nonprofit workers in context

Outside of quasi-State bodies (where pay and conditions are set by the State) only 0.9% of people working in Irish nonprofits are paid more than €70,000. In the economy at large, 13.6% of people are higher paid.

Within the same group of nonprofits, pension payments are recorded in the financial statements of only 10% of nonprofit companies .


Within the economy at large 13.6% of people are highly paid.

Normal Economy

Within the nonprofit sector 0.9% of people are highly paid.

Non profit economy

Source: Benefacts 

Benefacts future is uncertain

At the end of July the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) wrote to say that they would provide no further funding for Benefacts after our current funding agreement expires on 31st December.

According to Minister Michael McGrath’s officials, the project “has met its initial policy rationale of assisting the development of a market for data on the nonprofit sector by stimulating demand from public bodies for such data”.

Despite our strenuous representations, DPER officials reconfirmed earlier this week that “this Department will not be providing further grants to Benefacts in 2021 following the expiration of the current Funding Agreement”. Accordingly the Board had no choice but to commence arrangements for winding up the company and terminating contracts including those with our 20 staff (15 full-time equivalents).