Corporate social responsibility, otherwise known as CSR, is no longer just a popular concept and business practice in the business world but has also developed in the aspect of career opportunities. CSR defines the way companies behave and operate in social, environmental, and ethical frameworks.
The development of substantial career opportunities for value-based professionals reflects the diversity of the field of CSR existing in both private and public sectors. However, unlike any typical job, CSR roles may not have specific designations or titles but the job description reflects CSR programs and activities.
Landing a CSR job depends on which area of CSR interests you as well as the type of corporation you prefer to work in. Organizations looking for potential candidates set their own requirements for the position.
For the most part, CSR roles need expertise and business experience. So, the job may not be that suitable for a bachelor’s degree holder or those who are just starting out in their career. But you can always give it a try in the other areas of CSR, only not to those that require specialized knowledge. It is best to study the companies looking for CSR jobs.
Where and How to Search for CSR Jobs
Professionals who wish to land a career in this field can find available CSR-related positions in large companies or the private sector. These corporations now have internal departments that cater to CSR issues within the organization. These may be in the divisions of public relations, philanthropy, marketing, environmental management, community affairs, legal divisions, and human resource departments of the large firms. Large accounting and consulting firms also fall within the private sector where many of these consulting companies compete with the niche consulting firms that offer CSR client services.
CSR career opportunities in the public sector are available in national government agencies and offices and in international organizations. The United Nations agencies such as the International Labor Organization and the World Bank have CSR positions available. Belonging to the public sector are the national governments that are now gradually establishing CSR departments and most of these jobs are in the international divisions such as UNDP and USAID.
Non-profit groups or non-government organizations also offer jobseekers with CSR positions such as industry associations and think tanks or academic institutions engaging in understanding the CSR concept.
Skills Needed for a CSR Career
Candidates for the CSR position must have the skills needed for the job and these skills are categorized into three main areas: business skills, people skills, and technical skills.
For any CSR role, the individual is required to have business skills. This includes the ability of the person to build insight, strategic awareness, and handle complexity. It also incorporates communication skills, leadership skills, decision making, and problem solving skills.
The next skill set is people skills wherein a potential CSR candidate should have the abilities of adaptability, empathy, open-mindedness, integrity, political awareness, and self-development. Additionally, the CSR role needs someone who can develop others, build partnerships and teamwork, and influence other people without using affluence or power.
Technical skill is the last skills set required of a CSR function. This includes technical knowledge and expertise in the job itself such as stakeholder dialogue, internal consultancy, selling business case, and understanding concepts like impacts, human rights, and sustainability.
CSR Role Competencies
For professionals who wish to pursue their CSR functions, they must possess the following required CSR competencies: understanding societal needs, organizational capacity, challenging the status quo, stakeholder relations, strategic view, and harnessing diversity.
A skilled CSR employee must know how to scrutinize the challenges in the society and create solutions that will address social issues. The second competency assesses an individual’s ability to strengthen the organization in terns of leadership, effectiveness, and efficiency. A competent CSR employee must be flexible in adjusting oneself to the realities of a dynamic environment.
The fourth competency calls for an individual who is sensitive to the needs of the stakeholder groups and one who contributes to making decisions in the firms. An individual with good strategic views understands the impact of company decisions on various stakeholders. Lastly, CSR firms need a person with openness to diversity. A potential CSR candidate for the job knows how to appreciate differences among companies in their cultural practices.