Careers in the International Development sector

Working in the International Development sector allows you to make a positive impact on global issues, gain real job satisfaction, potentially travel the world, and work with incredibly inspiring people. Therefore it won’t surprise you to hear it is highly competitive, as many people are keen to take on such rewarding roles. Combine this with a lack of funding across the sector negatively impacting job numbers and it means opportunities are hard to find.

It can be very frustrating when most NGOs request prior experience; be it institutional donor management, overseas fieldwork or capacity-building of funding recipients. Most NGOs value experience above all else, as this will demonstrate a commitment to the sector and the personal qualities essential to navigate a diverse stakeholder group, cultures and contexts. Without prior experience finding a role is much harder; still possible, but much harder.


We would strongly recommend considering a volunteer assignment as a way to gain often essential experience. It’s no coincidence more than 20% of AfID volunteers now work full-time in the non-profit sector (we call them Career Changers). Even a short 2-3 week assignment will reassure employers you're serious and demonstrate the transferability of your skills. All AfID assignments are tailored; designed around your availability, skills and preferences. For FAQs please click.

Afid volunteer shawn coaches charity partner accountant at desk


A Good First Step..


Attending an AfID Workshop (next date Friday 25th January) will provide invaluable practical insights, explaining sector jargon and demonstrating the ways accountants can navigate complex situations confronting NGOs. It’s a great networking opportunity with 25 other likeminded accountants, AfID’s founder, past volunteers and an ex-Oxfam FD in attendance. Each workshop is delivered by John Cammack, a very experienced independent consultant & author in the non-profit sector. John has been involved with Development for over 30 years, previously Head of International Finance at Oxfam and then Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. Neil Jennings, AfID Founder, will also be in attendance to answer any volunteering or career questions.


Trustee roles or UK Volunteering is another rewarding way to pick up experience and useful networks.


Also worth a look..

On the road to work, Africa ladies carrying hay above their heads down a dusty African road


If you are keen to commit your career to the not for profit sector please email, sign up to our Top Opportunities alerts and explore our Live Career Opportunities in international development.