Career Opportunities in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Fields


By Fuzail Ahmad

The post liberalized and globalised Indian economy is witnessing shrinking role of state and growing role of Corporate and Business in overall development of country. Corporates with their wider reach, professionalism, innovation and wealth have the ability to influence the pace of growth and development. In recent survey by TERI it was found that the public expectations from corporate and business are growing.

CSR-EducationIndians feel that business sector must play a wider and more expansive societal role. In addition to providing good quality products at reasonable prices, companies should strive to make their operations environmentally sound, adhere to high labour standards, reduce human rights abuses and mitigate poverty.

What is CSR?
Corporate Social responsibility in the past few decades has intrigued not only the scholars but the practioners as well. It is ‘essentially a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment’ (European Commission, 2001). Companies consider themselves as an integral part of the society and act in a socially responsible way (EC, 2001). Till very recently it was viewed as philanthropic activity indulged into only when the firms were in jeopardy. But it is now viewed to be inclusive, broad and diverse. CSR is now viewed as integral part of business strategy to minimize the business risks linked to uncertainty. Though the critic are of the view, CSR is nothing but Corporate Conspiracy to Snatch Resources (CSR), in the name of CSR.

Where are the jobs? 
Most of the multinational Corporate have their CSR wing and Deptt exclusively dedicated for doing community development and CSR activities directly or indirectly in the vicinity of their operations. In other companies CSR is running under HR or Environment Deptt. They recruit professionals from Social work, rural development and other developmental fields to undertake and manage the CSR activities of company. It is observed that companies whose operations directly impact the nature like mining, manufacturing, power generations etc. have CSR wing quite active to tackle the grievances of nearby population and engage the stakeholders. In green field projects we have seen corporate giant and Govt struggling hard to get the land acquisitions and Resettlement and Rehabilitation (R&R) issues solved, here also CSR professionals are in great demand.

Due to the diversity of this career area, opportunities exist within the private, public and voluntary sectors. It is important to highlight that many CSR roles may not be titled as such but their job content may reflect CSR activities.

Private Sector – Larger companies may have CSR departments or have CSR functions located within particular areas including marketing, communications, environmental management, public affairs, investor relations, finance, operations and human resources. Opportunities are also opening up in the large accounting and consulting firms, many of which are trying to compete with the niche CSR consulting firms by offering their own CSR client services.

Public Sector – CSR career options can be found in national government agencies, PSUs and international organizations.

Nonprofits and research – There are a wide variety of non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), industry associations, think tanks and academic institutions engaging in learning and/or advocacy within the CSR arena.  Such groups promote and examine the use of CSR concepts within the private and public spheres. For example:

CSR – still an emerging profession?

There is no such thing as a typical career path in CSR and there is no single professional body at present that represents the needs and interests of all those working in the field.  This is due to the diverse disciplines involved and also the complexity of the roles and responsibilities of a CSR practitioner.  The process of establishing and responding to the CSR agenda within an organization will require specialists with specific CSR competencies.

What qualifications are needed for a CSR role?

There are no specific qualifications required for this field but there are an increasing number of qualifications becoming available at Masters Level and as part of MBA courses. The professional courses like Master of Social Works (MSW) MBA in rural development and Post Graduate Diploma in Rural development offered by different universities and reputed institution may be right option for career in CSR.

What skills or competencies would be required for a CSR role?

This is hard to clarify due to the diverse roles and range of disciplines involved. Though the major skills required for successful CSR Professional are:

  • Business skills (including building insight, communication
  • skills, decision making, commercial awareness, IT, innovation, strategic awareness, leadership, handling complexity and problem solving)
  • People skills (including adaptability and empathy, developing others, influencing without power, open minded, integrity, political awareness, self-development and learning, building partnerships, team working and questioning “business as usual”)
  • Technical skills (including technical expertise, understanding impacts, stakeholder dialogue, internal consultancy, selling the business case, understanding human rights and understanding sustainability).

From above three skills, following 6 core competencies are listed for managers involved with CSR in organizations:

  • Understanding society
  • Building capacity
  • Questioning business as usual
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Strategic view
  • Harnessing diversity

How do I find out more about CSR roles?

  • Browse relevant websites and job listings  – build up knowledge of what skills, qualifications and experience are being asked for.
  • Check out the following reference books in the ‘Getting Started’ section
  • of the Careers Information Room:
  • The Ethical Careers Guide – Business Ethics section
    The Sustainable Careers Handbook
  • Consider joining a CSR network
  • Organize an internship, work experience or voluntary placement.

How do I find a job in CSR?
This very much depends on which area of CSR you are interested in and the type of organization you want to work for. Many direct CSR roles require specialist knowledge and business experience and therefore may not be open to those on graduate programmes or just starting out with a company.  You may have to take a longer term strategy and build up your skills and experience in relevant areas first.  However, there are jobs out there so here are a few tips:

  • Companies recruits professional both fresher and experienced through advertising in media or internal sources.
  • Search-out the companies/foundations/trust of company owners doing CSR Works.
  • Think hard about organizations you admire and research their values and culture.  What is their stance on CSR? Is it embedded in their core values? Do they have opportunities for getting involved with CSR activities? Search out their Websites and CSR Sections.
  • Most of the CSR Jobs are done by NGOs so search out the NGOs having
  • linkages with big corporate.
  • Some consultancies have CSR departments and take on people in this area. For environmental consultancies with a CSR interest check out these too.
  • Get some CSR experience by securing an internship, work placement or by volunteering to assist an organization with their CSR project.
  • Keep up to date with CSR developments.  Monitor CSR websites and newspaper articles.
  • Consider further study.  Some consultancies for example, prefer graduates with business or NGO experience and/or a Masters level qualification in a CSR related area.
  • Monitor online job listings or register with a recruitment agency that handles CSR vacancies .

Universities offering degree in Social work/Rural Development

The premier institutes offering degrees/diplomas in Social work and Rural Development is as follows:
* Master of Social Work (MSW)/MA Social Work
* Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Trombay Road, Deonar, Mumbai – 400 088
* Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra – 136 119
* Lucknow University, Lucknow
* Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore 452001
* Vikram University,Ujjain 456010
* Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi 221002
* University of Lucknow, Badshah Bagh, Lucknow 226007
* Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Aligarh 202002
* Agra University, Agra 282004 .
* University of Delhi, Delhi 110007
* Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi 110025
* Punjabi University, Patiala 147002
* Benaras Hindu University (BHU) Varansi UP
* Rajasthan Vidyapeth, Udaipur 313001
* Gujarat Vidyapeth,Ahmedabad 380014
* Shivaji University, Vidyanagar, Kolhapur 416004
* Nagpur University, MG Marg, Nagpur 440001
* MS University of Baroda,Vadodhara 390002
* Amravati University, Near Tapowan, Amravati 446002
* University of Bombay, MG Road, Fort, Mumbai 400032
* Nagpur University, MG Marg, Nagpur 440001
* University of Poona,Ganeshkhind, Pune 411007
* Marathwada University, Aurangabad 431004
* Indhra University, Waltair 530003
* Nagarjuna University, Nagarjuna Nagar 522510
* Sri Venkateshwara University, Tirupati 517502 B.A.
* Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Tirupati 517502
* Karnatak University, Pavate Nagar, Dharwad 580003
* Mangalore University, Univ Campus, Mangalagangothri 574199
* Bharathidasan Palkalai Perun, Tiruchirapalli 620024
* University of Madras,Chennai 600005
* Bharathiar University, Maruthamalai Road, Coimbatore 641046
* Osmania University,Hyderabad 500007
* Sri Padmavathi Mahila, Vishavidyalayam, Tirupathi 517502
* Bangalore University, Jnana Bharathi, Bangalore 560056
* Madurai Kamaraj University, Palkalai Nagar, Madurai 625021
* University of Kerala, University PO, Thiruvananthapuram 695034
* Visva Bharati, PO Santiniketan 731235
* Utkal University,P.O. Vani Vihar, Bhubaneshwar
* Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi.
* Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development (PGDRD)/MBA (Rural Development)
* National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) Hydrabad
* Institute of Rural Management- Anand-388001.
* Xavier Institute of Social Service Purulia road, Ranchi.
* Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar-751013.
* Institute of Rural Management, IIRM Campus, Mansarovar, Jaipur,
* Gandhi Gram Rural Institute, Gandhi Gram, Dindigul.
* Xidas, 4th mile # 8, mandla road, village tihari, p.o. goraiyaghat, via rfrc, jabalpur-482001.
* Indira Gandhi National Open University, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi.(distance mode)

(NOTE: Above List is indicative only)

Most of the institutes now admit candidates through entrance examination for their Master of Social Work/MSW or Post Grad

(Author is a CSR Executive working with Hindustan Zinc, Udaypur)

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