Net Impact, a US charity, has released a report on attitudes towards ethical careers. The report contains hopeful news for the high-impact career market, but the findings must be treated with caution. The report suggests that current students are more inclined to go into ethical careers, and that they will be happier if they do. Having an impact with their job is very important to current students. 31% of students describe making an impact as essential, compared to only 15% of older generations. This is higher than the percentage of students who say wealth (13%) or prestige (19%) are essential. 45% say they would trade 15% of their salary to make more impact.
The advice for those trying to recruit to ethical careers is twofold: First, be personal. More people are motivated to “work in a company with their values” (58%) than more impersonal goals like tackling inequality (20%). Second, wealth may not be the key thing, but financial security is. Flexible work, job security, and enough money to pay off student debts are essential.
These results must be tempered with caution however. Net Impact (and the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University) conducted the survey, but their analysis is less rigorous than could be hoped. There has been little attempt to assess the statistical significance of the results. It must be noted that all these conclusions are based on self-reports, so false reporting will be significant. This report is not strong evidence on its own, but should be treated as a valuable starting point for further investigation.