How to Build a Career In CSR

How to Build a Career in CSR?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India is fast becoming a promising career option, ever since the change to the Indian Companies Act, 2013 has made CSR contributions mandatory for large companies fulfilling select criteria. The field by itself is diverse as the types of operations of the companies themselves are different. While career prospects are bright, there is no single governing body to represent/regulate the CSR sector.

Career Scope

Building a career in CSR definitely is a long-term goal, especially if you are a fresher.  CSR Internships and volunteering with non-government organizations prove excellent opportunities to work on real-time projects. Companies and HR agencies find candidates with prior work experience in rural development, social welfare and other people-oriented development/CSR programmes better suited for CSR jobs as they require management skills and tact to handle role-specific tasks. Technical skills also prove necessary in select cases.  CSR jobs demand professional qualifications, experience, and a host of skills and core competencies from aspirants. You’ll have to gain the necessary credentials and field experience to build a career in CSR.

Do You Have the necessary skills?

CSR roles demand a skill set spanning business, technical and people-oriented skills to achieve role-specific goals.

  • Business skills include leadership, communication, problem resolutions, tackling complexities, innovate and strategize operations, decision making, and commercial awareness.
  • Technical skills cover subject expertise, capabilities for in-house consultancy and selling concepts, negotiating with stakeholders, deep understanding of sustainability, impacts, human rights, business ethics etc.,
  • Personal skills typically span all facets required to garner support and resolve issues in an empathetic and amicable manner. Building a great working rapport, working with people, open to new ideas and criticisms, the will to teach and learn from others and personal integrity are but a few skills required.

What Qualifications are required?

A professional qualification in CSR or social work is a pre-requisite for a career in CSR. Several education institutions in India now offer postgraduate courses with CSR as the main or allied subject of study. Alternatively, courses on Sustainability management are also available for interested aspirants. Courses such as the following are being offered by select colleges and universities across India:

  • MBA in Sustainability
  • MBA in CSR
  • MS in CSR and Ethical Management

Correspondence course from Indira Gandhi National Open University and the Online certificate program for CSR professionals are also available.

Career In CSR

What Opportunities Are Available?

Job opportunities are available at different levels of the organizational hierarchy right from spearheading CSR initiatives of a company to managerial roles and implementers at the grass root levels. Very often job titles may not best describe responsibilities and activities of a specific role, as CSR functions/teams typically have fewer members, except in companies dealing with large-scale industrial operations, manufacturing, mining or power generation that have a dedicated department to handle CSR.

The CSR Mind Set

CSR in India is indeed an emerging sector, with ample scope and lucrative pay scales. It is, however, important to note that CSR roles make a difference only if they contribute to the welfare of people and environment at large. This is not just another day job that pays well. Opt for the career in CSR in India, only if you are really drawn to the social and environmental causes the sector aims to address.

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