People Management: Three minutes with - Gideon Burrows, editor of the Ethical Careers Guide

How do you define an ethical career? Everyone has their own ethical limits. One person might feel happy working in an organisation that has a poor environmental record, because of its work on human rights. Another person may not.

Is it always ethical to work for a charity? A lot of people would presume that, but I don't agree. I know of people who would not work for certain charities because they accept donations from arms companies.

People think that working for a big corporation must be ethically unsound and Microsoft, for example, gets a lot of stick for monopolising the computer market. This approach doesn't consider that it has donated more money to HIV and Aids than any government ever has.

What are the most ethical jobs? To me, the way todiscover this is by really putting the time into finding out as much information about as you can, and then going to that organisation with your questions. These might include who that organisation invests in, and what kind of environmental policy it has. It might be more ethical to work in the corporate and social responsibility department of an oil company, having properly weighed up all the issues, rather than work for a children's charity just because the idea gives you a warm glow.

Our guide is there as a tool to help you ask the right questions - we do not make judgements about what is or isn't ethical.

What can you do if you find a charity you want to work for, but don't agree with all of its policies? Studies show that ethical job seekers tend to be the best informed, committed and passionate - exactly the kind of people most employers want. This can be used as a bargaining tool.

Wait until you have been offered a job, and then voice whatever concerns you may have. Say you want those issues addressed before you accept.

The Ethical Careers Guide is available from

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