An ethical career involves incorporating personal principles and values into a job, so there is no single definition of the phrase. However, the concept of an ethical career relates to seeking employment in a job role, company or sector that is actively involved in contributing a positive influence and effect on society.
Many people associate this type of career with the non-profit sector, in particular with voluntary work or working for a charity, but it is not necessary to work without payment in order to pursue an ethical career. There are a wide number of relevant disciplines, from engineering and teaching to marketing, administration and IT. It could also involve social enterprise or corporate social responsibility (CSR).
How to choose an ethical employer
If you are looking for an ethical employer, there are various things you may wish to take into account.
- Look at material from the company (brochures, website etc) – what can you tell about its approach to business?
- What do newspapers and other publications have to say about the company? What are its key strategies and how well does it perform?
- What is the core business or purpose of the company? How does this impact on the environment and the community?
- Is the company genuinely committed to ethical business practices?
- Does the company benchmark itself against other organisations, perhaps using the Corporate Responsibility Index? (See www.bitc.org.uk/cr_index for more information.)
- Is there a report at www.corporateregister.com to give you more information about the company’s record on sustainability, corporate social responsibility and treatment of the environment?
- How does the company treat its own staff? Do its equal opportunities policies go beyond what is required by law (eg using the ‘two ticks’ symbol to show active recruitment of people with disabilities)?
The following websites help to provide information about careers and employers of interest to graduates who are concerned about the ethical, social and environmental responsibility of graduate recruiters: