Wed, 23 Oct 2019

Aspirants are turning to development sector for a purposeful career

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2018

Times News Network

As India’s development sector matures, it is leading to an increasing requirement for personnel trained and armed with the right academics, aptitude and skill set. A number of indicators point towards this.

One, the organisational structure and managerial roles in non-profit organisations are getting specialised. Where talent is increasingly being sought out for roles ranging from strategy, communications, fundraising, CEOs office, managing M&E, programme leadership, CSR partnerships and COO responsibilities. The social sector is rapidly evolving as one of the primary career destination and is moving beyond the traditional roles of volunteering or field jobs. This is a far cry from the days when organisations had more of general management roles. The narrative has become more specialised and specific to the challenges, limitations and essentials of the job description.

Second, people in the age group from 25 to 40 years are turning to the development sector for a meaningful career leading to purpose in their lives. Millennials who have just begun or are beginning their careers are opting for a career in the development sector. In the past, much of the roles in non-profits were filled up by those in the senior age of retired career brackets. That is fast changing. So much so, that talent experts suggest that recruitments in the development space are giving a run for their money to those opportunities in corporates especially the ones in the IT sector. This is, for example, borne out by the fact that ISDM (Indian School of Development Management) recently set a benchmark for placements in social sector with 90+ reputed development organizations and corporates coming to the campus to attract their first batch of 57 students. The students were offered at par or in some cases better packages than what are being offered to engineering students otherwise.

Third, with increase in funding to the social sector from newer avenues like CSR, there is a huge demand for a new generation of enthusiastic leaders and managers who can help the social sector deliver sustainable social impact at scale. The sector is offering challenges to those who are looking to build their lives working on improving the most complex social issues facing our nation. People who are passionate about these issues yet practical and innovative in providing solutions. Who can channel the available resources in the most efficient and effective manner. The sector promises a career full of substance.

The landscape of the social sector in India is widening with development organisations emerging as domestic and international NGOs, social foundations, CSR/Corporate foundations, social enterprises, social consulting organisations, funders, ecosystem creators and research organisations. Some of the leading ones in India include Central Square Foundation, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative, Actionaid, Samagra Development Associates, Wadhwani Foundation, Ashoka Innovators, PATH, Charities Aid Foundation etc to name a few. This has created varied opportunities for people who seek a wholistic career which provides professional and personal growth along with financial stability.

Keeping the future in mind, the development sector needs leaders who can build world-class social organisations in India based on an intricate understanding of this space. It also needs a much large number of thinking and well-rounded youth to invest their time in solving some of the most challenging problems facing humanity.

Today career in social sector is no more restricted to just social science graduates. With the rise of development Management courses, surprisingly students from Science, Arts, Engineering and other backgrounds are joining the league of tomorrow’s leaders and managers nurtured just for the social sector. The drive to join a meaningful and purpose driven career is leading youth to look beyond MBA and glamorous corporate sector jobs. Social sector career has moved from charity to rewards. Also a growing number of successful social entrepreneurs and impact investing is now challenging the conventional belief and method of making a career in the development space. Impact investors are investing heavily in workforce development and technology to transform social enterprises and ideas into established organizations for a larger impact.

But despite the positivism around the sector, all is not hunky dory. In a number of non-profits in India and overseas, there have been challenges of governance, ethics and leadership. Further, in many countries across the world, social sector organisations have come under the scrutiny and pressure of the respective governments. So, while the younger millennials turn to the non-profit sector where the basics of management can be imparted to them, leadership training at the senior levels are also the need of the hour.

So, while increasing numbers of professionals opt for a career in non-profits that brings more meaning and purpose to their lives, they also have to understand that it will not be a bed of roses. Only those who have the will to dive in deep and keep kicking their way ahead can be successful.

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