The social sector holds exciting and promising opportunities for a meaningful, satisfying and financially sustainable career that promises purpose and meaning, complexity, variety, stable careers, travel and huge social impact and innovation. The youth today are in larger numbers than before, exploring and committing to lives and journeys in this social change space.
The sector has career opportunities for a varied range of professionals as the job profiles include strategy and planning, behavior change communication, collaborative partnerships, government advocacy, value-based fundraising, systems thinking based programme design and management, mission first social entrepreneurship, holistic decision making, corporate social responsibility, ethical and pragmatic M&E etc. There is no other sector (corporate or otherwise) that can offer this range and complexity of work profiles. This also offers an additional opportunity to help improve the lives of the underserved in society.
Job roles in the social sector are similar sounding to those in other spaces, but what you do in them really differs. Let’s look at some of the exciting job roles in the social sector.
Research & Knowledge Creation: If you have an academic bent of mind and enjoy teaching and/or research (knowledge creation and dissemination), the sector now has a lot of opportunities for your skill set. Like any other space, this sector continuously needs to refresh its knowledge base. It allows you to develop and disseminate new theories and ways of working.
Consulting/Investment Banking: If you like looking at the broader picture and not getting into actual operational roles (on the ground or the organization level), or if working on a variety of different problems gives you satisfaction (width versus depth), then social consulting roles could be for you.
If a preference for number crunching, developing effective storyline presentations, and engaging with donors and investors sounds like your thing, then social investment banks might be a good fit for you.
Behavior Change Communication: If you are passionate and capable of working around the world under challenging conditions, this job profile is the right match. This job demands for innovative designing of communications, adaptability to a variety of new age technologies, implementation of impactful events, effective coordination and enthusiastic advocacy. You can pursue local and international communication best practices in form of innovative and cross-cutting communication initiatives around multiple social issues.
Social Work: If you are basically a technical person then this is a great idea for you. You can enjoy delving into the meat of social issues to get an in-depth understanding of the reasons behind them. This profile is also an ideal fit for those who love working at the grassroots level with communities to ideate and implement solutions.
Mission First Social Entrepreneurship: If you are excited about the idea of building world-class mission driven social organisation, then you should go down the path of Mission First Social Entrepreneurship. As an aspiring entrepreneur, there are immense growth opportunities available today in the development space. A new breed of impact investors is emerging to fund such ideas at a large scale. Starting up a purpose-driven social business allows you to leverage your entrepreneurial skills. It offers unique experiences to create, mobilize and manage a platform that supports social transformation.
Strategy and Planning: A career in strategic planning involves helping a social purpose organisation design a path to growth defined through bringing about a large impact in the society. The strategic planner’s role consists of helping the organization to gather, analyze and organize information. A change planner is responsible for social/organisation policy, planning, infrastructure, and strategic program development.
Corporate Social Responsibility: With the hike in CSR spend; there is an increase in jobs with good salary packages. Corporate sector is encouraging the hiring of professional leaders and managers for their work in the development sector. The demand for such talents is high so as to achieve the objectives of CSR programmes and initiatives in the most effective and sustainable manner. CSR offers a variety of roles including sustainability, auditing, monitoring, reporting, community investment, programme collaborations, partnerships and events, marketing and communications, employee engagement, strategizing and planning etc. So if you want to pursue a career in the corporate sector but with a meaningful purpose, choose your desired role in CSR.
Career choices should be looked at from multiple lenses – satisfaction, impact, complexity, variety, along with money (financial stability and comfort). It is this composite index that will help define enriching, satisfying careers for people, lives where you can look back with pride at the choices you have made, the difference you have created and the legacy you have left.
ISDM (Indian School of Development Management)