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65% of university students want ‘impact jobs’



A study by US non-profit organisation Net Impact has found that 65% of university students want to make some “positive social or environmental difference” in their future careers.

The findings appear in a report called Talent Report: What Workers Want in 2012, which surveyed 1,726 individuals that are students at US universities and about to enter employment, or university graduates currently in employment.

The amount of people that have opportunities to make a positive difference and that are “very satisfied” with their jobs is over double the amount of people that don’t have the opportunity.

For the first time, we have data that shows a direct connection between job satisfaction and making a difference at work”, said Net Impact CEO, Liz Maw.

Employees today don’t want to check their values at the door when they arrive at their jobs, and the ability to live and work with strong social meaning is clearly important to them.”

The survey also reveals encouraging statistics with regards to employees taking pay cuts so that their work is aligned with their morals. More than half (58%) of respondents would happily see their pay-packets reduced by 15% to “work for an organisation whose values are like [their] own”.

Meanwhile, 45% would take the same reduction in pay to “have a job that makes a social or environmental impact on the world”, and 35% would do so to “work for a company committed to corporate and environmental sustainability”.

Back in November last year, our founder Simon Leadbetter wrote a piece asking where all of the world’s ethical, environmental and entrepreneurial ‘leaders’ have gone. The Net Impact study responds by proving that there are people at the beginning of their careers that want to make a difference.

The survey reveals that 76% of respondents believe that most companies only care about profit, as opposed to the planet and its people. But at the same time, 65% accept personal responsibility in making a positive change.

These are the people that will be leading the fight against climate change, resource scarcity and overconsumption in the coming years, and these are the people that we should celebrate.

Further reading:

The world needs ethical, environmental and entrepreneurial leaders