Does development studies always open the door to a career in this sector?

Each year, many fresh graduates in development studies hope to build a rewarding and a long, sustainable career in the aid and development sector… and, inevitably, many will find it quite difficult to reach that goal. The figures are indeed compelling:

‘IDS graduates experience significant challenges in breaking into the job market, particularly in the international development sector. Just 19.2% of IDS grads reported that their jobs were directly related to international development, while almost 40% reported that their jobs were not related at all. However, respondents also reported that regardless of their careers, their IDS educations had profound impacts on their world views and their ongoing values and behaviours as global citizens.’ (Source: Oxfam blog, From poverty to Power)

The always excellent Duncan Green, a strategic adviser for Oxfam GB, delivered in a recent post a good overview of reasons, especially to the attention of European and American young graduates which are primarily affected by this vague of change. The aid industry is indeed transforming and increasingly ‘heading South’:

‘The old days of the white man in shorts, heading off to be an expat and running projects, look numbered. Good thing too. Those jobs will be done by local organizations, or local staff in international organizations, who are far better placed to ‘dance with the system’ of local power and politics.’ (Source: Oxfam blog, From poverty to Power)

Most and foremost, Mr. Green sheds some light on the knowledge and skills on the rise for anyone serious about a career in the aid and development sector, as well as the functions that will sustain this sectorial transformation, such as campaigns/advocacy and private sector engagement.

Click here to read the full post. We highly recommend this reading for young talents (and also not so young) who wish to learn more about the ongoing changes to our industry.