What is the purpose of a business — any business? Ask anyone at all, whether or not they’re an entrepreneur or business owner, and you are bound to get strikingly similar answers. Businesses of any kind fundamentally exist to provide products, services, or a combination of the two, that fill some need.
Because they do so, this business will have customers or clients that, at a minimum, cover the costs required to keep the business running. Ideally, the business will (after a time) start to make profits that make reinvestment and expansion possible.
As the global ethical landscape broadens its horizons, however, these two basics are no longer the sole purpose of many businesses.
Rather than being satisfied with knowing that the company is serving its customers, employees, shareholders, directors, and of course, the bottom line, modern businesses also want to leave a wider positive mark on society, and the world, at large.
This concept, fast gaining ground, is called corporate social responsibility (“CSR” for short) or corporate citizenship.
The key principles of corporate social responsibility are to analyze the impact a business has on the wider world, make policy changes that shift this impact in a more positive direction, and implement these policies in practical ways that have a measurable impact.
The key domains at work in corporate social responsibility — or corporate citizenship, if you prefer — are:
- Economic — this would be the goal of doing business to stimulate local economies, in the process examining all the markets the company touches in the stages of design, sourcing, production, marketing, and sales.
- Social — which would include committing to and promoting ethical working conditions within the company and downstream at the point of contractors and suppliers. For instance, it would include setting up programs that create educational and work opportunities for marginalized groups of people, such as those currently living in poverty or those with disabilities. In this arena, steps such as refraining from setting up franchises in politically volatile regions where human rights abuses are taking place are important steps.
- Environmental — as climate change is becoming an increasingly pressing issue of immediate importance, numerous businesses, from the smallest startups to the largest global enterprises, are placing a heavy emphasis on environmental provisions in their steps toward greater corporate social responsibility. CSR policies and practices aimed at improving environmental sustainability may range from replacing plastic bags with paper bags to only working with farmers using sustainable agricultural practices or empowering them with the tools and knowledge they need to become more environmentally friendly. This area would also look at ways to reduce power usage or replace existing energy consumption with more sustainable options.
Today’s increasingly socially aware consumers may drive companies to adopt socially responsible practices, and investors and shareholders can also play a powerful role.
In some cases, the drive for positive change comes from within. Even in the face of opposition from parent companies, some businesses are adopting socially responsible practices.
Companies that choose to make corporate responsibility a top priority do not have to choose. They can have both. In fact, embarking on the path of corporate social responsibility may even be profitable as it results in increased sales and customer loyalty.
The recent shift toward increased corporate responsibility is very welcome news to the many people who have always dreamed of making the world a better place but still want to earn a decent living in the process. Corporate responsibility jobs are rapidly emerging as an entire and fascinating field of expertise.
Do you want in? Are you looking for jobs in corporate responsibility?
Best Corporate Social Responsibility Jobs
You may consider whether any of these corporate social responsibility jobs are for you.
Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
If you hit the job boards searching for corporate social responsibility jobs, “corporate social responsibility manager” will be one of the most frequently-encountered professional titles. What does a corporate social responsibility manager do? Although that will depend on the size of the business as well as its precise nature, corporate social responsibility managers engage in activities such as:
- Analyzing current trends and ways in which the company could contribute to society at large.
- Developing policies and strategies that help the business work toward meeting its established corporate citizenship goals.
- Ensuring that employees are aware of corporate social responsibility practices and policies and helping to enforce them.
- Getting the word about the company’s contributions out to the rest of the world, including by engaging with the press, hosting events, and working with the marketing team, in turn possibly raising funds for philanthropic activities.
This is arguably the highest level of corporate responsibility jobs, with a median salary of around $119,460, depending on your location and company size.
The type of education and experience you need to land a corporate social responsibility manager will vary with the company’s focus. However, people with degrees in political science, communication, business management, or environmental science may all be a good fit.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Consultant
Corporate social responsibility consultants may work in businesses as permanent employees, but they may also instead be employed by a consultancy firm. They can even be freelancers, and remote corporate responsibility jobs may also be found within this particular title. As a corporate social responsibility consultant, you may:
- Assess what a business can do in ESG — environmental, social, and governance — to impact positively and simultaneously raise its profile.
- Analyze what CSR steps would have the largest impact while being cost-effective.
- Help to develop programs in line with the ideals of corporate responsibility.
These jobs require similar skills and educational backgrounds, and the salary can range from $35,000 to over $100,000 annually. Some engagements in the area of consultancy are going to be short-term. If you are interested in something, you can certainly set yourself up as a remote corporate responsibility consultant.
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- CSR Community Relations and Outreach Manager
There is no doubt that jobs in corporate responsibility have rather varied titles — in part because this sector is still very much emerging.
No matter what your job is called at any particular company, working in corporate social responsibility makes you a pioneer. Corporate social responsibility jobs that include the words “community relations,” “outreach,” or “community awareness” are going to have you working directly with affected communities.
In these jobs, which can be corporate responsibility jobs at the entry-level, even straight out of college, you may be in charge of attracting beneficiaries of social programs, making community members aware of the existence of exciting opportunities, or directly implementing programs.
People with degrees in areas ranging from social work to communications may be a good fit here. Salaries will vary.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Analyst
Many jobs in corporate social responsibility require a humanities background.
Still, if you are a number-cruncher at heart, with a degree in an area like Finance, Economics, or Business, you may prefer to look for opportunities in the field of data collection, auditing, and making recommendations.
Depending on the business CSR analysts work in, they may examine data sets about energy usage, waste management, social impact and sustainability, public opinion, or engage in cost/benefit analyses.
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Corporate Social Responsibility Marketing and Public Relations
Some jobs in corporate responsibility place a strong emphasis on communication skills, and while an advanced degree will be required in many cases, that is not always true.
Those who are exploring corporate responsibility jobs as entry-level candidates and who excel in connecting with customers may wish to look into marketing and public relations jobs. If you have previously worked as a copywriter, jobs in this arena may also be a perfect fit for you.
This area of corporate citizenship focuses on spreading the word about the programs and steps a company has implemented, allowing customers and other stakeholders to become aware of the positive steps a business has taken toward increased corporate social responsibilities in the areas of environmental sustainability, social impact, and transparency.
These jobs can range from those that essentially amount to marketing with a socially responsible twist to engaging with the public utilizing cleverly designed social media campaigns. The salaries in this emerging field of corporate responsibility jobs have a broad range, from entry-level to generous, precisely because there is such a broad spectrum.
Keep your eyes on CSR-related marketing and PR jobs if you are a strong communicator who wants to let the world know what the company you work for has made a positive difference in the world.
Remote corporate social responsibility jobs can often be found in this area for those looking to work from home while making a measurable positive difference.
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Corporate Social Responsibility and Policy Specialist (HR)
Do you perhaps already have a strong background in Human Resources, and have you always hoped to improve opportunities for diverse groups of workers?
Corporate social responsibility specialists often turn their focus outward — examining how the business they work with or for can play a role in benefiting the wider community or the environment.
Corporate social responsibility jobs in the area of Human Resources instead turn their attention inward.
As an HR manager, specialist, or team member in the sector of corporate social responsibility, you may look at ways to improve hiring practices, performance reviews, and strategies to retain talented and diverse employees. These jobs emphasize creating a diverse and equal opportunities workforce.
The company you work for will reap the benefits of hiring, advancing, and retaining workers from diverse ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds, those belonging to sexual and gender minorities (the LGBTQIA+ community), and people with a wide range of disabilities.
You, in turn, will know that you are contributing to the equitable workforce of tomorrow.
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What Skills Do You Need to Have to Work in Corporate Social Responsibility?
People with diverse skill sets can realistically aim to land corporate responsibility jobs at all levels.
This emerging and exciting field is likely to welcome people with advanced degrees in economics, Finance, and Business, as well as those with degrees in Environmental Science, Communications, Gender Studies, and Political Science.
Those with a background in coding and programming can find jobs that focus on corporate citizenship, as well.
As corporate social responsibility is a field that is emerging quickly and offering a shocking number of fascinating social opportunities to ambitious and socially aware workers with almost any background, the most important job requirement is a deep personal commitment to corporate social awareness.
By constantly keeping an eye on the many vacancies in this growing field, you will certainly be able to find opportunities that perfectly match your skills, experience, and qualifications.
That is true whether you are looking for corporate social responsibility jobs that are entry-level, remote corporate social responsibility jobs as an employee, consultant, or freelancer, or want to contribute your analytical and mathematical skills to the advancement of corporate citizenship in the areas of economics, social impact on marginalized communities and groups, or environmental sustainability.
The rapidly-growing field of corporate social responsibility has space for new graduates, people without advanced degrees but with deep personal expertise, and highly experienced professionals alike.
What are the best corporate social responsibility jobs?
There is no one right answer to that rather complex question. The best corporate responsibility job for you, on an individual level, is one:
- With a company that embraces the same values and mission that you hold dear, ideally in a field you deeply connect with — the more highly you value the business you work with, the more easily you will carry its mission to the next level.
- That seeks the expertise you have to offer.
- That allows you to thrive as a person.