Career advice: Where are the job openings?

For those interested in getting business done better, a central piece of career advice revolves around where to find responsible job opportunities that combine a good salary with socio-eco innovation. As mentioned in a previous post, the risk of a jobless recovery in the US is mounting, and US-based socio-eco innovators might be wondering where to look for jobs beyond the highly visible corporate social responsibility jobs.

Valuable career advice can be derived from a recent study from the Kauffman Foundation on US-based job creation. Indeed, this new study, titled 'The Importance of Startups in Job Creation and Job Destruction', showed that US start-ups are responsible for most of the US-based job creation. This longitudinal study, based on data from 1977 to 2005, compares and contrasts job growth in established companies (over a year old) and start-ups (less than a year old). An important first finding of this study is that, during recessionary years, job creation at startups remains stable. In contrast, as we have all seen and experienced during recessions, job growth in established firms varies with the economic conditions, decreasing in times of economic downturn, and growing in times of economic growth.

Furthermore, when looking at overall job creation in the US, the study found that between 1977 and 2005, start-ups have created a net average of 3 million jobs a year. In contrast, for every year of the study but 7 years, established firms were shedding an average of 1 million jobs net per year.

Finally, another important result from this study indicates that, contrary to popular belief, established firms (10 years or older) do not create more jobs as they age. Indeed, the study found that on average, ten-year-old companies generate an average of 300,000 jobs while one-year-old firms create about one million jobs over the same period of time.

A limitation of this study is that it does not look at the sustainability of the jobs created. For instance, out of the million average jobs created by start-ups, how many are still jobs that exist after 3 or 5 years as compared to the 300,000 jobs created by established firms? As estimates show that about 95% of start-ups are not in operations 5 years after their creation, this is an important perspective that will need to be addressed in future studies.

So what does this tell us about career advice for those looking to drive socio-eco innovation?

Well, a first piece of career advice might be to look a new start-ups rather than focusing exclusively on established firms. New models such as L3Cs are gaining momentum. Indeed, L3Cs are now available in 8 US states as well as in a number of Native Indian Reserves (see the latest update on this model through Marcia Stepanek's post in our justmeans social enterprise section). Gaining more knowledge about L3Cs and how their business model differs from other social enterprises (and from nonprofits) can help you gain a considerable competitive edge when applying for jobs to get business done better.

In addition, and as mentioned in earlier posts, another social enterprise model is also gaining traction. The Benefit Corporation model (or B Corps) is now available in 2 US states. Furthermore, at least 6 more states having started the conversation about adopting this new business model in their state (for more information on B Corporations, see previous justmeans posts here and here).

So a central piece of career advice for aspiring SEIs is to expand their job search by looking into at least two new directions: First, focus some of your energy looking for opportunities beyond established firms. They might be less visible and more volatile, but they might have more jobs available. Second, learn more about alternative socially responsible business models and investigate opportunities that might be available in these organizations, for instance through our justmeans job board.

Please use the comment section below to add any other pieces of career advice you might have, or to ask career questions you would like to see addressed in future posts!

Photo Credit: Fly4Change.