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Ethical Job Hunting

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 27 Jan 2021

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When you’re looking for a new job, do you start by looking at the job titles or the company behind the job listing? It is normal to cut down your search by simply searching for the job title you would like to have and worrying about the company and other factors after you have read the job spec. However, do you ever think about the ethical side of things? Ethical choice can include what the company do, what they produce, or what their work policies include. It can be tough to discuss ethics because everyone has different views on what is right or wrong, but we have some ideas on what can help you become a more ethical job seeker.

What is ethical job seeking?

Being an ethical job seeker can mean one thing to you and something else to another, so it’s really important to focus on your own job search and to try and not compare yourself to others. Being ethical doesn’t always come from you, try to think more about the company you work for or are applying for.

Ethical categories may include the environmental, charity or sustainability sectors. These are the type of things that may show up when you search for ‘ethical jobs’ either in google or on a job board. However, for example working for a company that works within the defence or weapons sector may feel like an ethical sector for you or you may see this otherwise. It is all about listening to yourself and understanding who you would be proud to work for.

However, it isn’t always the sector that makes a company unethical to work for. It can be company policies which push negative views. Is the company going to be gender diverse, do they have a culturally diverse workforce and are there equal opportunities? Sometimes, simply knowing that the company you work for is doing its part to include minorities, is enough for you to be happy to work for them. 

Why should you make sure your job search is ethical?

Again, everyone will have their own opinions and there is on right or wrong career. However, it is important for you to feel happy in your role and sometimes if there are a few ethical issues nagging away at you, it can be difficult to enjoy your work. For some people, it is clear that they cannot pick and choose their jobs, it’s just not viable. But if you can, why would you waste your time on something that doesn’t have the ability to make you happy?

One key factor that can help in your ethical job hunt, is the fact that the sustainability sector is growing. There are many more opportunities being created in solar engineering for example. If the opportunities are there and you would feel better having a job in that sector or a similar one, it might be time to spark up your job search again.

Being ethical is all down to personal opinion but having an ethical job search is all about you wanting to make a difference. You should be proud of your work and if in your eyes, it’s making a difference, it’s likely you’ll feel a lot more satisfied with your work.

An ethical job search can mean many things. It can be based on the sector, the company and even the company values. Ethical opinions are different from person to person, so it’s important to not let anyone tell you you’re wrong for having an opposing view to them. Remember, the idea of having an ethical job search is to ensure that you feel happy and proud of your job and the company you work for.

“If you wanted to work only in jobs which had no link to weapons, smoking, meat and dairy production (vegans), the oil or aviation industries (climate change), or any of a wide range of potentially exploitative enterprises then you would be thin on choices. As an example, the technologies allowing offshore wind farms are built on oil industry knowledge. At a more mundane level conveyor systems are used in vegetable, tobacco, meat and explosives industries. Nuclear waste processing handles military and civil nuclear waste. Working for Google/Microsoft/Apple may include developing invasive or coercive technology for invasive or coercive technology for security services etc.

Perhaps a more fruitful way to view this is to choose jobs with limited involvement in fields you are most unhappy with and to support organisations that attempt to tackle the larger system created by governments and businesses. I read recently the view that the type of globalisation we have now, intended to support trade above everything else is not the only type available. Moving to globalisation based on human health and wellbeing, or any of a number of options, could fundamentally change the system. Truly ethical jobs could become possible.” – Paul Wearing CEng BEng MIET ACGI Director