Job searching as a Millennial? It’s tough. If you haven’t considered nonprofit jobs, these three reasons will have you rethinking the jobs you’re applying for.
On any given day, you can check the news and hear that “things are getting better.” The economy is rebounding and job prospects are on the rise. Consumers are gaining confidence and so it finally looks like there’s a light at the end of the Great Recession tunnel.
This optimism is true for most people, but if you’re a Millennial (born between the early 1980s and early 2000s), the future is still not looking so bright.
The Millennial generation is the largest and most educated generation in history, and yet they’re far less likely to secure jobs than their Gen X counterparts. More than any other generation, Millennials are having a hard go of it in the job market. If you are actively searching for a job right now, you may very well feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel, getting nowhere fast.
But there is one place that you probably haven’t looked into, which may very well turn it all around for you: a compassionate career in the nonprofit sector.
I know, you may be thinking, “but nonprofit jobs aren’t ‘real’ jobs.” Or, “nonprofit jobs don’t pay.” Or even, “job prospects in nonprofits are worthless.”
If any thoughts like those above crossed your mind just now, prepare to be schooled. Here are three terrific reasons why the nonprofit sector will be an economic game-changer for you in 2015: (Click here to tweet these reasons.)
1. 2015 will be a big year for nonprofit hiring
Fifty percent of nonprofits anticipate adding new positions this year, according to Nonprofit HR’s 2015 employment practices results. Only 34 percent of for-profit companies say the same.
These numbers aren’t a projection fluke or wishful thinking, either. Over the course of the recession (2007 to 2012), the nonprofit sector was the only sector that grew, while every other sector lost jobs. Nonprofits now employ over 10 percent of the American workforce – covering nearly 14 million jobs in the U.S. alone – and it’s the fastest growing job market in the world. Moreover, recent data shows that communities that have the highest concentrations of nonprofits are the most economically resilient.
There will be significant job opportunities in the nonprofit job sector this year and beyond. Plus, securing a nonprofit job will help to make the economy as a whole stronger, fortify the safety-net for disadvantaged populations, and increase your job security. We call that a proverbial “win-win.”
2. Nonprofits allow you to have your cake, and eat it, too
Millennials are changing the way that the workforce works. This generation has prioritized flexibility as one of its highest job values, and nonprofits have listened. Telework, part-time and flextime are now more available in the nonprofit sector than in for-profit companies.
There is no better place to find jobs with deep meaning and the opportunity to have a significant social impact than in cause-driven organizations, the vast majority of which are in the nonprofit sector.
So, as you search for a career path, remember that you don’t have to choose between getting a paycheck or making a difference. You can have both.
3. Nonprofits have cornered the market on perks
This may sound counter intuitive, but it’s true. Although the nonprofit sector cannot (and arguably should not) compete with for-profit companies when it comes to opulent performance bonuses, there is at least one particular perk that nonprofits offer that should be of particularly interest to you — education loan forgiveness.
You may not realize that working in this arena will not only give you opportunities to develop valuable transferable skills, but it also comes with the opportunity to defer loan payments while simultaneously reducing overall loans. In fact, working for certain organizations for four or five years can result in a complete forgiveness of all Perkins loans. If you happen to be a college graduate with $25,000 to $100,000 in loan debt, this is a huge incentive, and a very important perk to consider.
Millennials, your generation is facing major obstacles when it comes to the job market. Fortunately, the nonprofit sector may very well provide exactly the opportunities that you need and want. So before you send your resume out to yet another for-profit company, consider taking a good look at the nonprofit sector. Not only is it good for the world, it’s good for you, too.
Alexandra Mitchell is a co-founder of the nonprofit research and advisory firm Pathfinder Solutions. She also co-wrote Compassionate Careers: Making a Living by Making a Difference, a dynamic inspirational guide to help anyone and everyone channel their passions into successful cause-focused work.