Torn between whether to enter the corporate or social impact sector? Tempted by the comforts of a consultancy pay package? Worried about taking a route that is slightly less guided?

I’m sure these are all thoughts that run through the minds of many recent graduates who are striving for impactful and meaningful careers. Since the emergence of corporate social responsibility, social enterprise incubations, and increasing trends of social intrapreneurship within some of the UK’s largest businesses, the third sector no longer presents the only option for those that want a socially impactful career.

This may leave some grads slightly confused and overwhelmed by the number of different options available. To gain more insight into the differences between working for the social impact sector and the corporate sector, we asked one of our Worthwhile alumni to share their thoughts on the matter.

Henna graduated from Oxford University and completed her placement at Oxfizz in 2017. She now works in politics for Progress, a movement of centre-left party members and supporters. Here are some of her thoughts:

“A lot of my friends from university went on to work for large financial companies, either through grad schemes or from securing a place through an internship they had done the previous summer. When speaking to them about their new jobs I don’t think their roles were as challenging and complex as mine. I was given a lot of responsibility and had limited resources to complete varied types of work. I found that some of my friends didn’t have this same level of responsibility, as their clients would receive services regardless of whether they had completed their work or not. Lets just say I was never once bored compared to my friends working in the corporate sector!

Because of the levels of early on responsibility I had, I soon discovered my own personal resilience and how far I could push my abilities.

This sounds horrible but when you know how much you can achieve when you work at 100%, you’ll be able to consistently work at 75% and have the ability to turn up a notch when you’re under pressure.

Working in the social impact sector also taught me not to be afraid to take initiative. As a result I gained a lot of confidence to take responsibility. As I worked within a small team of three to five people, if there was ever a problem it was very much my job to fix it. When working in large corporations there’s not as much opportunity to do that as there are more restrictive boundaries and I feel you begin to lose your confidence to take responsibility.

During my placement there were no boundaries in my way when it came to changing things, which is what makes the social impact sector really exciting to work with!"

Worthwhile supports talented young people to launch a career in social impact. For more information and to apply, head to worthwhile.org.uk.


This interview was conducted and written by Kavita Tailor.