The third sector encompasses a wide range of careers in not-for-profit organisations, such as charities. These jobs are neither public nor private sector jobs and are concerned with helping others as opposed to making vast amounts of money. Third sector jobs may involve helping people in the local community or on a national or international scale. From voluntary jobs to paid positions, the third sector offers jobs to suit all skill levels and salary preferences.
Paid and unpaid positions in the third sector not only provide workers with the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a difference but the chance to gain invaluable skills and experience in an environment that is well-known for being caring and easy to learn in. Working in the third sector tends to be more relaxed than working in the private or public sectors, particularly with regards to flexible working hours and dress codes. The third sector enables people to balance the competing elements of their lifestyles, such as their family life and leisure time, with participation in community-centred activities.
The third sector offers similar job roles to those that would be expected in the private and public sectors. In addition to roles in human resources, information technology, marketing and communications, and finance, the third sector offers a significant number of fundraising, public affairs, volunteer management, programme management, and service delivery roles. It provides people with the opportunity to work directly for the causes that they feel passionate about and to develop a variety of new skills that, in turn, can improve their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Since budgets are often tight in third sector organisations, workers are likely to be handed more responsibility and are often required to take on tasks that would span numerous workplace roles. This enables them to gain a greater number of transferrable skills in comparison to those working in private or public sector jobs. Under the tight budgets of third sector organisations, workers are required to think outside of the box with regards to the promotion and delivery of services.
To work in the third sector, a love for working with others is essential. Careers in the third sector require commitment and enthusiasm, as well as a will to always go above and beyond the call of duty. While the financial rewards of paid positions may not be high as comparable roles in the private or public sector, the sense of personal satisfaction gained from working in the third sector is likely to be high. While successful third sector organisations will generate some profit, the money generated is not for personal gain, with the majority of being provided to those in need. This is not the only way in which third sector organisations contribute to society. These organisations also help to generate employment, promote active citizenship, social services and democracy, and safeguard human rights.
The growing number of partnership projects which involve the third sector working in conjunction with the public and private sectors can improve third sector workers’ career prospects by providing experience and contacts - both of which are invaluable at times when the competition for jobs is fierce.