Thank you to everyone who has taken part in our workforce mapping survey. Your feedback helps us to develop and improve our knowledge of your current working practices

The survey also supports our policy and advocacy work by enabling us to identify gaps in provision and make a stronger case for support with policy makers and commissioners.

We email the survey to members following their annual membership renewal. During the first 12 months - October 2020 to October 2021 - it’s been sent to approximately 74% of members, with a response rate of around 10%.

Key findings

The survey found:

Professional roles

  • the most common professional role was as a practitioner in the following settings:
    - private practice
    - third, charitable and voluntary sector
    - school, college or university
    Approximately one quarter (24%) of respondents were supervisors

Annual income

  • around three quarters (75.4%) of respondents earn an annual income of £30,000 or less from their counselling work
  • only 36.4% agree they could earn a living from their counselling work.

Paid hours

  • the average number of paid client contact hours a week was 11.6, with the highest number in university or higher education (HE), Employee Assistance Programmes or workplace, NHS IAPT and secondary schools
  • members working in the third sector had some of the lowest numbers of paid hours

Unpaid and voluntary hours

  • the average number of unpaid or voluntary client contact hours a week was 2.3, although 63.1% reported working zero unpaid hours
  • unpaid hours were highest among students and trainees, those in the third sector and coaches
  • more than half (56.8%) of third sector practitioners worked some unpaid hours
  • only a quarter (27.6%) of third sector practitioners agreed they could earn a living from their counselling work

Four nations (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)

  • there were few differences between nations in member earnings and number of paid hours
  • around one third of respondents across each nation agreed they could earn a living from their counselling work.

Additional paid work

  • a high proportion of respondents (44.7%) did not want any additional paid work
  • of those who did, 53.4% wanted between 5% and 25% more work and around a third (36.3%) wanted 50% or more additional hours
  • there were few differences across the four nations and regions within England, however members in London and Greater London, the West Midlands and Northern Ireland wanted the highest number of additional hours
  • the three most popular sectors where members wanted more work were private practice, universities and HE and healthcare (NHS)

In relation to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), the survey found that:


  • respondents from mixed or multiple and white ethnic groups had the highest average number of paid hours
  • those from black and mixed ethnic groups reported earning a lower average annual income than other ethnic groups


  • those aged 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 received the highest number of paid hours, while those aged 75 and over worked the highest number of unpaid hours
  • those aged 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64 earned a slightly higher annual income than younger and older age groups


  • respondents who considered themselves to be disabled worked a slightly lower number of paid hours than those who were not disabled, although the number of unpaid hours did not vary
  • those who considered themselves to be disabled were more likely to be earning no income or an income of £20,000 or less, however there were fewer differences in higher salary brackets


  • males and those who self-described their gender had a higher number of paid hours than females or non-binary respondents. There were minimal differences in unpaid hours.
  • men were more likely to be earning a higher annual income than women

Sexual orientation

  • gay men and gay women or lesbians worked a slightly higher number of paid hours on average compared to people who were bi, heterosexual or who self-described
  • there were few differences in annual income across groups overall


  • 9.3% offered therapeutic work in languages other than English, including British Sign Language
  • of these, 33.1% reported they worked in the third sector

Next steps

We'll continue to send the survey to renewing members so we can conduct further analysis and better explore differences between groups.

We’ll also continue to update you on the findings on an annual basis, on our website, via email and in Therapy Today.