A noticeable trend in the workforce is developing, as college graduates gravitate towards non-profit work. The economic recession has limited corporate job openings, pushing degree holding young people into lesser paying positions. While the cause of this push is economically based, the reward of non-profit work is proving its worth to recent college grads.
Graduates who finished college prior to the current recession were more likely to work for large corporations, where it is estimated they will make 22 percent more money than those in non-profits. When jobs in the private sector became less available, grads began searching elsewhere. It is now estimated that college graduates working in non-profits have risen over 11 percent, and 16 percent for government positions.
Non-profit organizations are benefiting greatly from this trend. Graduates with business degrees began applying, sometimes hundreds at a time, for a single position. Applications for AmeriCorps and Teach for America have surged in the last two years. Organizations advocating for children, social justice, education, healthcare, etc., are now receiving an overwhelming amount of applications from America’s college graduates.
While non-profit work may not have been a first thought for college grads, the “giving back” aspect of the work makes it rewarding and exciting. A 2009 graduate confirms that she feels that she is “serving with a purpose,” instead of merely “helping a large corporation sell more widgets.”
Graduates entering the non-profit sector are attesting that skills developed towards corporate jobs are transferring into other lines of work. Despite the estimated pay cut, these jobs are helping their resume and furthering their careers.
The influx of educated college graduates gearing towards non-profits is now creating greater competition in the non-profit sector. With so many applicants available, non-profit organizations are able to hire only highly qualified candidates.
While the trend is attributed to economic conditions, other explanations exist. One theory applies the idea that President Obama made public service “cool”. Another suggests that community service requirements in high school have created “unusually big hearts” for those growing up in the 21st century.