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Young talent in international cooperation

01.02.2021 –

What motivates students to pursue a career in humanitarian aid, development cooperation or peacebuilding? And why do they sometimes turn away from it?

cinfo - the competence centre for international cooperation (IC) - in collaboration with the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) has conducted a survey of over 500 Swiss students. The results show that young people are attracted to the profession because of their desire for a meaningful job and the opportunity to tackle global challenges (environmental, social, etc.). The prospect of a personal challenge and experience abroad are also attractive, albeit to a slightly lesser extent. However, some are deterred from starting their professional career in this field by the difficulty of reconciling private and professional life and balancing the career of a potential partner - at a time when work-life balance is considered a key factor in a job’s appeal. As many jobs are temporary, financial and occupational insecurity are also likely to make young people hesitate.

Sixteen Swiss IC employers, interviewed in a second survey, indicated that the number of jobs for young professionals has generally increased in recent years. The number of applications per NGO job is increasing, while the recruitment of junior professionals for multilateral organisations (such as the UN) is proving to be more complicated.

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