Sarah Ford | April 8, 2015

Eight Career Options for Millennials Interested in Impact

By Amanda Minuk

We’ve been called everything from selfish and narcissistic, to lazy and entitled. As we shake off the (mis)perceptions people will realize that we’re a generation that wants to make a difference. In fact, meaningful work is an imperative for our generation.

With an increased interest in meaningful work, one may assume that charities are seeing an influx of new college graduates. Yet a recent U.S. study indicates that only 18% of college graduates intend to enter the non-profit or teaching fields. Further, only one in ten MBAs who graduated between 2010 and 2013 are working in non-profits or for the government, compared to one in four who graduated before 1990.

What is contributing to the decline and the disconnect between interest and action? Are the stereotypes right, or are we thinking about this all wrong?

It’s no question that many Millennials want impact, but the truth is that the way we think about charity has changed. We don’t believe that there needs to be a separation between purpose and profit. The majority of us believe that businesses have a responsibility to do more for society – 92% of Millennials think business success should be based on more than profit.

The recent success of social purpose companies like TOMS and Warby Parker, demonstrate the changing tide in business operation and demonstrate new opportunities to make a difference through your job beyond working for a charity. But the non-profit sector is also changing. Many charities are becoming social enterprises, adding additional revenue streams, ultimately blending purpose and profit.

When MaRS and my company Bmeaningful, a social impact career site, were writing our report on Finding Meaningful Work and Attracting Top Talent, we identified the different ways that you can do good and make money. We define meaningful work as any role that strives to fulfill an explicit social or environmental purpose- but we recognize that you can find meaning in any job and that this doesn’t just apply to Millennials.

Here are eight career options:

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