Careers in CSR in India

CSR Cartoon By Arun Kumar Banglore. Copy Right: Cartoon Watch and India CSR Network

By Rusen Kumar

CSR is essentially a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment. Companies consider themselves as an integral part of the society and act in a socially responsible way. 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. 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 of the overall society.

In recent surveys, it was found that the public expectations from corporates and businesses are growing many folds. Indians feel that business sector needs to play a wider and more expansive societal role. In addition to providing good quality products at reasonable prices, corporations should now strive to make their operations environmentally sound, adhere to high labor standards, reduce human rights abuses, enable livelihood security for marginalized sections of our society, and mitigate poverty.

In the light of the above expectation, the Indian legislation on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) comes as a major milestone in ensuring that some share of each corporation’s profit is ploughed back into the society for the overall socio-economic growth.

The Companies Act clearly mandates corporations meeting its eligibility criteria to earmark 2% of its annual profit after taxes for such CSR related work that will lead to societal benefit and welfare. It is a great step that has been taken, and with this legislation, India has become the pioneer in the world to do so!

In such a decade, where CSR related projects and programs are considered to be increasing many folds, and many corporations are predicted to structure their CSR teams, there is a surge in career paths now available in this field. Traditionally, CSR teams solely didn’t exist in many corporations, and even if they did, usually comprised of either very few people or the low performing people.

However now this scenario is rapidly changing as more and newer career opportunities have come up. Right from junior CSR field officers, upto the CSR heads that lead a fleet of CSR professionals, this space has seen tremendous growth.

Usually CSR professionals are recruited from social work, rural development, and other developmental fields and sector, such as WASH, Renewable Energy, etc. Careers in CSR are rapidly growing in all domains like private, public and nonprofit etc.

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.

Popular CSR related careers are as below:

  • CSR projects – field person, coordinators, incharges, supervisors, community workers etc.
  • CSR teams within Corporations – CSR Head, CSR Managers etc.
  • CSR roles at CSOs/NGOs – CSR Engagement Manager, Client Relations Manager etc.
  • CSR Online Portals – CSR content writers, CSR editors, CSR Critics, CSR project writers etc.
  • CSR based Networks – CSR network manager etc.
  • CSR related Consultancy & Advisory – Consultants, Advisors, Researchers, Knowledge workers etc.

In India as of now no specific qualification is required for CSR, there is no particular subject dedicated for those who choose to excel in CSR, 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. As it is a new field for career option, youngsters have much to explore and learn in this field, with the increasing demand for careers in this field and as more youngsters are inclined towards this new career.

Careers in CSR 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 long term strategy and build up your skills and experience in relevant areas first for few top working companies where CSR all together works as a different vertical! However all said and done, one thing that is true about people who choose to take up a career in CSR is that these people not only get professional satisfaction, but also gain great deal of personal satisfaction and contentment too!

CSR Jobs in Non-Government Organization

Most of the corporates are spending their CSR budget through NGO routs. NGOs are expert in their respective area of works and professions. NGO those who are managing CSR funds of their corporate partners are appointing man powers to handle, manage and implement the CSR project of the corporate houses.

If you want to work with NGO for CSR jobs you can be appointed as CSR executive, CSR Manager, CSR data analyst, CSR resource mobilizer, corporate partnership, manager fund raising, CSR project manager, Public Relation Manager.

Rusen Kumar
Rusen Kumar

[Rusen Kumar is the Editor India CSR Netowrk. He is CSR think tank in India. He can be reached at]



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