CSR & Sustainability Career Pathways Tool: Valuable Roadmap to a Meaningful Life’s Work

Interested in a meaningful career in Corporate Social Responsibility /Sustainability? Increasingly mid-career professionals and new graduates are finding their passion in these fields, but don’t know how to break into the growing number of positions. Recent research at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto identified career pathways, core competencies and formal education programs necessary for careers in CSR/Sustainability.

“Increasingly professionals are realizing that a CSR/Sustainability career is a viable option,” says Kathryn Cooper, Program Manager, Certificate in CSR/Sustainability. “Our research indicated that people are not sure how to break into these fields and don’t know what competencies they need to be successful. We hope this tool will be a roadmap to this meaningful profession.” The CSR & Sustainability Career Pathways Tool compiles research from numerous competency models, surveys of CSR/ Sustainability Professionals and analysis of formal education programs at 20 educational institutions.

CSR/Sustainability Career Pathways Findings

The research shows that CSR/Sustainability is part of a global movement that will change everything. Michael Porter, Harvard Business School calls it the “Sixth Wave” of innovation; which includes finding shared value and social impact through new ways of doing business; including radical resource productivity, whole system design, and bio-mimicry. Today’s CSR/Sustainability professionals are systems thinkers, boundary spanners and intrapreneurs who spark urgent, deep, purposeful change toward a socially and environmentally responsible way of working and living. Some of the key findings of the Career Pathways research include:

  • Current CSR/Sustainability professionals identified they had over 61 CSR/Sustainability titles in 8 core job areas and 19 job roles.
  • Nearly one-half (53%) of CSR/Sustainability professionals in the field did not feel they fully understood all the core competencies they needed to acquire to be a CSR/Sustainability professional.
  • Surveys by ECO Canada and others indicate significant job growth in the CSR/Sustainability field.
  • Competency models identified 12 core competency clusters found within CSR/Sustainability professionals.
  • Formal CSR/Sustainability education is exploding, but in a very differentiated way. Programs range from Graduate Certificates attained while working full time to full time student options for degrees, master degrees and certificates. The majority of programs are available for the latter.

Continuous, intentional learning and development is one way of formally assuring a common understanding of the shared language, mental models, knowledge, skills and proficiencies required for this profound and urgent shift. Informal and non-formal education should also be part of the learning mix for professional development.

Recommendations for individuals pursuing a career in CSR/Sustainability include: 1) Determine your aspirational career goals, 2) Complete the Competency Gap Assessment to determine your current strengths and skill gaps and 3) Create a multi-year learning plan that includes formal, non-formal and informal education.

“I absolutely believe the Certificate in CSR, University of St. Michael’s College, was instrumental in getting me a job with a CSR focus,” notes Janet Piper, Manager, Promotion & Philanthropy at Mackenzie Investments (Class of 2015/2016). “ When my boss introduced me to my new colleagues he mentioned the Certificate nearly every time! This program helped me break through to a career in CSR.”

DOWNLOAD the Career Pathway Tool here

About the Graduate Certificate in CSR/Sustainability

The Certificate in CSR/Sustainability, a work as you learn program, is taking applications now for 2017/2018. Module 1 will be held in Toronto, Canada, October 18 -20, 2017. Module 2 and 3 will be held May, 2018 and November, 2018 respectively. To apply, go to the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Website. See the program schedule, past graduates and news about the program. Second Intake Application Deadline is June 30th, 2017, only 13 spaces remain after the First Intake.

Participants can work full time while earning this professional post graduate university credential for CSR and Sustainability through a blending learning approach. Participants:

  • tackle and resolve a CSR and Sustainability challenge in their company in a major Action Project under the mentorship of faculty and co-learners;
  • learn Next Generation Practices from global thought leaders on the forefront of Sustainability and CSR;
  • use practical tools to assess, measure and integrate CSR and Sustainability into their organization;
  • experience the practical real world application of CSR and change management through ExperienceChange™ Simulations; and
  • join a prestigious community of St. Michael’s Alumni in continuing education, sharing and networking.

CSR/Sustainability is a rapidly evolving field. The Certificate Program continuously updates its curriculum to include Next Generation Practices such as Transformational Company research, the Embedding Project and Fortune 500 Change Management Simulations applied to CSR/Sustainability implementation. The curriculum is aligned with the Body of Knowledge created by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

The 13 month program is delivered in three on-site sessions (October, May, and November) for a total of 11 days in Toronto, Canada. In between sessions participants complete assignments, online learning modules and participate in Next Generation Practice Alumni Webinars, where graduates share their stories of CSR/Sustainability implementation. The culminating CSR & Sustainability Action Project is a 9 month assignment chosen by the participant relating to their workplace or personal development.

To apply, go to the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability Website.