While nonprofit organisations, NGOs, and philanthropic institutions might be the immediate image that comes to mind when we talk about a social impact job, the possibilities of making a positive impact on people or planet are much more diverse these days. Working in impact recruitment, we’ve witnessed social impact jobs span almost every industry and sector of the economy. So, let’s dive in.
It depends on what impact means to you
It is easy to get overwhelmed by the buzzwords: impact investment, social enterprise, B corporation, corporate social responsibility, ESG, and the circular economy. They are helpful to understand and realise how many social impact job options there are, and you’ll find many of these terms broken down on sites like Good Finance, which provide jargon buster glossaries.
But at the end of the day, everyone’s idea of a social impact career is different because we all have varied interests and priorities. Think about your previous volunteering experience, humanitarian work, or philanthropic projects – they’ll be different from the person sitting next to you.
Simply put, if you are engaged in a social impact job, you will probably be working in an organisation with a mandate to deliver on one or several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water – to positively impact society, spur social change, or create transformative benefits for communities or the environment.
Social motivation is crucial. Candidates in the social sector are assessed not only on the basis of their technical skillsets but also their natural intrinsic values.
The range of social impact jobs
The purpose-driven field is thriving: from frontline community jobs to impact investment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) roles in mainstream investment firms.
At Careers4Change, we have placed motivated changemakers into independent charitable trusts, think tanks for the UK social sector, and social investors, among others. What all these organisations have in common is that they are looking for an individual with passion and purpose – and the required skillset for their chosen discipline.
There are also many opportunities for commercially minded individuals who want to make a positive difference in society. For example, you could be a credit risk manager with a lending or investment portfolio, looking to move to social finance to address systemic inequalities.
Mid-range manager-level roles at £40-50k in communications or operations gain a lot of traction – we once received over 650 applications for an operations manager role. There’s also plenty of interest in executive-level positions at around £80k.
So, if you are a more senior individual searching for a second career in financial management, communications, risk, or operations, you may be just the person we are looking for.
Where are these jobs advertised?
You can start by following various leading organisations on Twitter and LinkedIn. Our candidates have recommended: Big Society Capital, Impact Investing Institute, LGT Impact Ventures, Acumen, Key Fund, the National Lottery, Power to Change, and Locality.
For investment roles, follow Women in Social Finance; for mid-level roles try Future Impact Finance; for advice about social impact careers, check out Servane Mouazan’s Conscious Innovation; for experiential learning opportunities, try On Purpose or Social Starters; for jobs boards, look at Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Skoll Foundation, or BWork.
- To see the kind of organisations active in the social sector, try out our Careers4Change social impact quiz.
- Unsure whether this career move is something you’d be interested in? Check out our changemaker profiles where impact leaders share their career journeys.
- Wondering how to break into the space? Check out our blog.