By Lucille Pilling
How do I find a job in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability? This is a question that the panel on CSR: How a Company Communicates its Cause identified as one to anticipate and one I am asked often.
The response is that there are very few positions available in this field (although that is beginning to change). The majority of corporate CSR related positions are awarded to internal candidates that either are seasoned professionals that know the firm well and are close to retirement or young enthusiastic employees who are given sole responsibility to lead a CSR initiative. This too is changing as corporations progress from CSR as a form of risk aversion, to CSR as strategic philanthropy, to CSR as an integral part of core business strategy.
Think Company First
The best way to obtain a position in CSR is to identify a firm with an environmental, social or governance (ESG) message that matches your interests, start working there and become a visible participant in the firm’s ESG component.
Another piece to this approach is to develop your personal brand by identifying and unleashing your passion in your career within the work at hand, the organization and how you progress. As the recession recedes, corporations are increasingly realizing the importance of attracting and retaining talent through their CSR initiatives. This is particularly true, as the recent study from Pew Charitable Trusts verifies, for the Millennium generation.
Dr. Lucille B. Pilling works at the intersection of global public health and corporate social responsibility. Her involvement in CSR began 14 years ago developing public private partnerships on the nonprofit side. She teaches CSR at New York University and is a CSR strategist.