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New Study Finds that Volunteering Increases Likelihood of Finding a Job July 16, 2013

Posted by servicecorpsnews in Volunteering News to Use.
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A groundbreaking new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) provides the most compelling empirical evidence to date establishing an association between volunteering and employment.
The study, “Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment: Does Volunteering Increase Odds of Finding a Job for the Out of Work?” finds that unemployed individuals who volunteer have 27 percent higher odds of finding a job than non-volunteers. The relationship between volunteering and employment holds stable regardless of a person’s gender, age, ethnicity, geographical area, or job market conditions.

“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. The federal agency used 10 years of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed a nationally representative sample of more than 70,000 individuals 16 years or older who were looking for work. The report examines their volunteer and employment status over two years to determine whether there was a relationship between volunteering and securing a job.

The report’s finding of a 27 percent increase in odds of employment was statistically significant. 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 diploma (51 percent increase in odds) and individuals who live in rural areas (55 percent increase in odds).


“This research suggests that people with limited skills or social connections – particularly those without a high school education – may see an extra benefit to volunteering as a way to open doors and level the playing field,” said Dr. Christopher Spera, director of evaluation and research at CNCS.


Prior research has shown that volunteering can increase a person’s social connections and professional contacts (social capital) and skills and experiences (human capital), two factors that are positively related to employment outcomes. In addition, some workers may see volunteering as a possible entry route into a new field or organization where they would like to work.

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