Corporate social responsibility is a dynamic field that helps businesses give back to the community and create positive change in the world. Through corporate social responsibility programs, companies can align their day-to-day business operations with their deeper values. Whether they desire to promote sustainability, protect human rights, or create a unique philanthropic legacy, corporations—as well as nonprofits and government organizations—can embrace social responsibility.
Many people who work in corporate social responsibility are senior-level executives or managers who expertly balance competing priorities to gain buy-in for influential, large-scale initiatives. Due to the complexity of this role, many people in this field have advanced degrees. Although many large companies employ full-time corporate social responsibility managers, some choose to hire consultants instead. While making a positive impact on the community, corporate social responsibility programs can also strengthen branding, increase customer loyalty, attract top talent, and enhance a company’s reputation.
A Day in the Life of a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
Corporate social responsibility managers help organizations limit or change business operations that are damaging to society and participate in solutions that make a positive impact. In order to achieve these goals, managers in the area of corporate social responsibility help create and evaluate policies related to the environment, health, and safety.
They may direct specific corporate social responsibility programs or manage a variety of other departments including public affairs, philanthropy, and sustainability. These employees often work traditional office hours but also may work extended hours when required or travel for business meetings and other work-related events.
Corporate social responsibility managers need a wide range of skills and expertise. Communication and leadership experience is particularly important in order to balance the needs of different stakeholders and create collaborative solutions. Other key attributes are a strong knowledge of the field and an understanding of current events to stay abreast of changing trends.
According to SimplyHired.com, the average salary for those who work in corporate social responsibility is $69,000. The actual amount of an individual’s salary depends on a person’s prior experience and educational background. Those who have worked in a similar field in the past will obtain a higher starting salary than an individual who is beginning this career path immediately upon graduation. Salary also depends on job title and responsibilities. For instance, managers in jobs related to sustainability can make more than $135,000, while office staff members may make approximately $35,000.
To pursue a career in corporate social responsibility, candidates typically must hold a bachelor’s degree. Although educational backgrounds often vary, many individuals who work in this field possess a bachelor’s degree in business management, economics, government, communication, or environmental science. Professionals who wish to advance along this career path should consider pursuing a master’s degree as well.
A Master of Public Administration (MPA) can position professionals to become leaders in this complex field. An MPA program teaches students how to conduct data analysis, communicate public service values, understand government regulations and public policy, and effectively manage teams of diverse people—all essential components for a career in corporate social responsibility. Gaining these strategic skills through an MPA program helps professionals understand the big picture and look at issues from a leadership perspective.
Challenges and Opportunities
The world of corporate social responsibility is growing quickly, as more companies and organizations recognize the importance of achieving sustainability and making ethical choices. The general public places a high level of importance on corporate reputation when making consumer choices, and people are paying attention to the role of government and its effects on the community at large. Therefore, it is becoming essential for organizations to create and implement policies that will encourage sustainability and social responsibility. This proactive approach also helps organizations cut costs, decrease risks to employees, increase profits, and engage stakeholders.
The field of corporate social responsibility is still relatively young and will continue to grow. While businesses may not require a large department to handle these needs, more businesses will require help in this area in the coming years as globalization continues to accelerate growth in this field. In addition to creating a greater appeal to consumers, businesses that have strong social responsibility practices also see improvements in the attraction and retention of quality candidates to fill jobs within the company as a whole. As new trends emerge, it is critical for businesses to adjust their strategies to make use of social media as part of their corporate social responsibility plan.
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