Jul 16th 2012, 15:04 by E.C. | LOS ANGELES
DOING good is in high demand. According to a recent survey by Net Impact, an industry association, more than 70% of college students and 50% of workers are looking for jobs with social impact. Nearly 60% of students are even willing to take pay cut in order to work for a company that represents their values.
However welcome, the sudden demand for such jobs is not without its problems. They are hard to find. They often don’t pay enough. And many recent graduates don’t know exactly what kind of job they are looking for or where to find it.
College career centres are not yet in a position to give them the right kind of advice. “I’ve seen a steady stream of graduate students knocking on my door to get guidance,” says Pamela Hartigan, director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. While many students are now aware of the big organisations, such as Ashoka, Acumen and Omidyar, they don’t know how best to approach them or which skills they are after. Ms Hartigan regularly brings social entrepreneurs to Oxford and Columbia University, where she also lectures. This allows students to ask questions and get information first-hand, bypassing ill-equipped career centres.
Jonathan Lewis is attempting to do something similar online. Based near San Francisco, he has launched iOnPoverty, a video portal that links graduates and established entrepreneurs. The content—mostly interviews with successful social entrepreneurs and leaders at organisations such as the Hewlett Packard Foundation and the Draper Richards Foundation—are designed to give “practical, no-BS, nitty-gritty insider advice and actionable tips for job-seekers”. Graduates get an idea of their options and a better chance of landing an interview, says Mr Lewis, which is hard unless you have the right connections.
There are currently not enough well-established social enterprises to meet the demand for jobs. To grow, the industry needs more investors who don’t look at such firms as “feel-good” projects but potential profitable businesses, argues Saul Garlick, chief executive ofThinkImpact, a social enterprise that offers students the chance to work in rural Africa.
This might also help raise the sector’s low pay. This is an important issue because of the debt that burdens most graduates today, forcing them to decide between pay and purpose. Mr Garlick established ThinkImpact while at university. After graduating, he decided to stick with it—and managed to turn his non-profit into a for-profit entity. He is now expanding the workforce, and receives anywhere from 35 to 100 applications for every opening.
This is still rare. A more common approach is taken by Matt Severson, the founder ofSchool Fund, a crowdfunding effort for students in the developing world. Mr Severson began his venture while he was still in college, but after graduation took a day job with Google to provide him a steady income. Some will have a hard time reconciling their activism with their professional pursuits. But for the time being, there may be little choice.