**Edit – BACP’s response is at the end of this post.**
Dear Natalie Bailey (Chair) / BACP
I write this open letter to you today on behalf of Counsellors Together UK to ask if you would be willing to repeat your 2014 members employment research survey, please?
We are particularly interested in the following. In 2014 your members survey showed us that;
• The typical counsellor works 12–13 hours a week.
• The typical counsellor earns less than £10,000 a year.
• The average annual income of members was £11,700.
• Just nine per cent of BACP members earn more than £30,000 a year.
• 52% said counselling was their main source of work.
• 41% currently work in another occupation (29% full-time and 71% part-time).
• 25% of practicing BACP members were unpaid for their main role.
• 72% of BACP members said it was difficult to find employment in the current market.
• Only 37% of counsellors who were working unpaid said they were satisfied with their professional life, compared with 75% of those earning more than £30,000 a year.
• Fifty-three per cent said they were likely to look for other employment in the future, and 58% said there were ‘no opportunities’ open to them for paid employment in counselling.
Reference – https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/therapy-today/2017/march-2017/is-counselling-womens-work/
Of course we understand that many therapists have recently lost or had their income reduced due to Covid-19, so we would ask that you ask your members to complete this survey based on their situation pre Covid-19.
We believe that it would be good for your members and the profession as a whole to be able to see if these statistics have changed, for better or worse, or have indeed stayed the same. It will also offer a basis from where we can move forward and further tackle these issues, hopefully, together.
We would be willing to support you with the survey. For example, we have over 5,900 members in our Facebook group and over 91% of those are active members. We could encourage members to take part in the survey, and also share across our other social media.
We would be very grateful if you could let us know your intentions regarding this request.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
On behalf of Counsellors Together UK
Counsellors Together UK is the UK’s largest counsellors’ campaign group with over 5,900 members. Our main aim is to work together to end the culture and prevalence of unpaid work within our profession. You can find out more at www.ukcounsellors.co.uk
BACP RESPONSE – received on 15th May 2020 (not signed by the Chair – Natalie Bailey whom it was addressed to)
Thank you so much for your open letter. We are committed to doing all we can to support our members and are listening carefully to them about their situations.
We’ve recently been working with members to understand how this time of unprecedented challenge has affected them. We will continue to do this in our current membership survey, which is providing us evidence about the impact of Covid-19 on them.
As you’re aware we’ve also been working proactively to provide them with the resources they need, including help to transfer to online working. We will continue to listen to our members and respond appropriately as we face this challenge together.
We agree that the findings of an employment survey, like the one we did in 2014, would be interesting. The issue of paid employment for members is a key priority for us, as you may have seen in our recent campaign – where we are lobbying Government to ensure there is a paid workforce of therapists available to support the nation through and beyond this time of unprecedented challenge.
We’ve actually been looking at a similar survey although as I’m sure our members will understand, as will you, the current situation with Covid-19 has added complexity to this. We would want to ensure the timing was right in order to get an accurate reflection from the research.
We’re really interested to listen to the detail behind your ideas. We’re passionate about our profession and working collaboratively for its benefit.
We are grateful to BACP for their response and interest in hearing our thoughts. We aim to write back and share our thoughts at the end of August 2020. We will keep you updated here on this blog post.