Agents of changeWith a career that can be extremely fulfilling and rewarding, it is of little wonder that youngsters are flocking to the development sector like never before
You are fresh out of university and, as a soon-to-be young urban professional, are looking to tiptoe into the professional world and find your footing. In every profession or career that you are seeking to establish yourself in, you are liable to be torn between choosing to employ your services in the corporate or for-profit sector, the public sector or the development/non-profit sector. Since the onset of the new millennium, there has been a fresh rise in demand for jobs in the development sector as prospective professionals seek to find employment in international/non-governmental organisations. Millennials are applying by the dozen every summer to intern at reputed non-profit organisations and gain working experience while still at school, and are enthused to be recruited as fulltime employees and establish their career immediately upon graduation. To explain this steady demand, the Post has caught up with our leading experts and here is what they have to say.
“In my opinion, the young urban professional is likely to gravitate towards the development sector because they have good English speaking and writing skills, as a product of fine schooling, which match the requirements of the development sector, but often have limited knowledge on Public Service Commission that keeps them from joining said sector as they fail to meet the criteria for the written test and interview. The development sector also offers charming financial perks and opportunity to travel both locally and internationally, which meets the desire of these professionals who are looking to travel through work. Oftentimes, it is also the family of said professionals that encourage them to join the development sector for social prestige,” shares Govinda Mani Adhikari, HR Manager at Helen Keller International.
Building up on Adhikari’s statement, Rupesh Krishna Shrestha, Professor at the Kathmandu University, opines, “It’s mostly to do with the attractive salary and the opportunity to travel. The starting salary for professionals in the development sector is significantly higher in comparison to private or public organisations, and they also offer an attractive benefit package and the opportunity to enhance one’s knowledge and skill set through training, workshops and conferences, oftentimes meeting international standards and even partaking internationally, which is hardly practiced in the private sector and is very competitive in the government sector.”
Furthermore, Paras Kharel, Managing Director at Kantipur Management Private Limited, voices his thought on the topic, “If you are a well-educated Nepali whose immediate goal is to earn a good stable income in a short span of a few years, you are likely to be inclined towards the non-profit sector for employment. Funded by international agencies of the United States, United Kingdom and other European countries, non-governmental organisations, multilateral agencies and the foreign aid industries, NGOs and INGOs are lucrative for any young urban professional to seek a job. The wage, health and educational benefits, and the exposure to national and international personnel in the creating of a professional network can greatly bolster one’s professional standing which is what attracts said professionals to the development sector.”
Adhikari further elaborates, “The development sector offers high salary and benefits in comparison to the corporate sector and delegates authority, responsibility and accountability fairly where such equity of treatment may be lacking in the
corporate sector. It also provides salary increment and benefits on the basis of salary surveys or the annual inflation rate while the corporate sector depends on their profit. Furthermore, the development sector offers area for professional as well as personal growth through scholarship, international training and exposure through travel among others.” He also speaks of his own experience in the development sector and shares, “During my two decades with the
development sector, I have observed that it makes the young urban professional more independent, honest and punctual making them a valuable team player, and also preparing them in finding their professional footing by providing resourceful connections, both local and international, that is often lacking in the corporate sector.”
“According to the 2011 census, the youth (aged 16-40) make up 40.3 percent of the total population. The national youth policy of the year 2010 had clearly envisioned the youth as a powerful change agent for development by
recognising the contributions of the youth to sociopolitical movements across the country, which is why the current demand for jobs in the non-profit sector that only seems to flourish over time is an optimistic sign and evidence of the application of the potential of today’s youth for the right reasons,” observes Kharel. He provides further comment, “The reason the development sector is such an important and highly-sought source of employment for the Nepali youth is because its jobs are well-paid and include benefits such as pension schemes, health coverage, education subsidies, training and overseas travel. There has also been a steady increase in graduate and post-graduate programmes in development studies focusing on the producing of effective and efficient development bureaucrats whose expertise encompasses project management, monitoring and evaluation. Further-more, in comparison to the corporate sector, work pressure in the non-profit sector is comparatively relaxed, and the working style and learning curve are more dynamic and open-minded allowing for both professional and personal growth.”