The health care, education and social service sectors have been among the most robust job creators since the Great Recession.
Though for-profit businesses may be sparkly job goals because of their steady daytime workweeks and employee benefits, there’s something to be said for the steady growth in many nonprofit careers.
Throughout the recession and “jobless recovery,” the health care sector was the nation’s dominant hirer. Health care and social services account for three-fourths of all nonprofit jobs, with hospitals alone accounting for more than one-third of the nonprofit subset.
Here’s the thing — actually, three things — about job growth and security in health care:
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▪ Most jobs are hands-on; they can’t be done from overseas or elsewhere in the country.
▪ The sector is growing along with the baby boom population that needs more service as it ages.
▪ Federal health care reform and digitization of health care records have opened the field to professionals other than hands-on care deliverers.
Government job cuts have affected hiring in education, so it’s not the same job creator as health care. But most education jobs generally carry decent pay and benefits; it’s not sackcloth and ashes employment.
And here’s another really important thing about these and other jobs in nonprofit organizations: They are mission-driven, and that can mean a lot.
Livable wages and job security are important for most workers, but over time it’s usually equally necessary to believe in and enjoy one’s work — to feel you’re valued and you’re making a difference.
That’s the sparkly attraction of many nonprofit jobs. Sure, there can be major stresses when trying to help chronically poor, ill or dying people. But there’s also joy in making a difference.
And, though it’s maybe not a life or death difference, there’s recognized value in working in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors. Lives are enriched by those nonprofit services.
In the Kansas City area, there’s a dedicated job board for nonprofit jobs (JobLink, operated by the NonprofitConnect association at npconnect.org) that lists about 200 nonprofit job openings a day and gets about 2 million views a year. Its job postings have leaped 65 percent since last year.
Look for similar nonprofit job boards or nonprofit organizations in your community. There may be a clearinghouse for openings to help your job search.
The new year always is a good time to reassess your career and job satisfaction. When I meet with job search support groups I hear a common refrain from many mid-career people. They’re looking to make a difference.
Especially if they’re able and willing to take a pay cut, many have found rewarding employment in nonprofits. Smaller paychecks aren’t as important as the satisfaction they get from what they do.