It’s the worst kept secret in job-search: the closest to a “guaranteed” path to employment that you’re ever going to find. Now a new report from the US has confirmed it again with compelling empirical evidence:
You’re significantly more likely to find a job if you volunteer.
Published by the Corporation for National and Community Service (a US government body), the study, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?” found that unemployed individuals who volunteer over the next year have 27 percent higher odds of being employed at the end of the year than non volunteers.
The study found that relationship between volunteering and employment holds stable regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or job market conditions.
(We reckon that the relationship also holds stable for Australia, even though we’ve clearly got a very different job market than the US.)
The agency used 10 years of data from the US Census Bureau and analyzed a sample of more than 70,000 individuals 16 years or older who were looking for work. The study examined their volunteer and employment status over two years to determine whether there was a relationship between volunteering and securing a job.
The research found a (statistically significant) 27 percent increase in odds of employment for those who volunteered. The association between volunteering and employment remained consistent across each year of the study period and varying unemployment rates, suggesting that volunteering may provide an advantage regardless of economic conditions.
Importantly, the relationship was strongest among individuals without a high school qualification (51 percent increase in odds) and among individuals who lived in rural areas (55 percent increase in odds).
“Many of us in the volunteer sector have long felt volunteering gives a boost to those looking for work, but we’ve never had solid research to back it up,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of CNCS. “This report shows a definitive relationship – volunteers are more likely to be employed a year later than non-volunteers. We know that volunteering can help job seekers develop skills and expand professional contacts, creating a positive impression that can make a big difference in a competitive job market.”
The bottom line: whether you’re young or old, male or female, whether you’ve already got a job or you’re unemployed, if you’re looking for an ethical job but unsure where to start, find yourself a volunteer or internship role.
Whether it’s stuffing envelopes, cooking meals or sitting on a board of management, it’ll help you make the transition to the ethical job of your dreams!