International development offers a wide range of opportunities. You could be working in policy development, developing donor relations, delivering aid on the ground, supporting colleagues through HR initiatives…the list goes on. What underpins the work is a desire to promote economic and human development in developing countries.
It’s a popular sector with LSE graduates and you’ll find alumni working in the sector all over the world. Many will have done a Master's qualification and most will have gained relevant experience through volunteering or internships. As you progress in your career it’s common to become more specialist and expert in a particular field.
Where can you work?
- International NGOs – make up the largest sub sector. Organisations range from large global NGOs (non-governmental organisations) with hundreds of staff, such as Save the Children, to small, locally based organisations with a handful of employees.
- Development Consultancies – bid for work from government donor agencies such as DFID (Department for International Development) and international organisations such as the World Bank. There are a mix of specialist consultancies, such as IMC and Dalberg, and large management consultancies such as PwC.
- International Organisations – include multilateral organisations such as UNICEF, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and development banks such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Visit our Careers in International Organisations page to find out more.
- Foundations – include organisations such as the Clinton Foundation. These are philanthropic organisations which donate bursaries, fund projects and, in some cases, deliver support on the ground.
- Government Aid Agencies – such as USAID, DFID and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zesammenarbeit). Work is often policy based, with consulting firms frequently used to implement and deliver projects.
- Social Enterprises – are typically small organisations run on private sector models but designed with a social purpose in mind. Escape the City carries vacancies in this area.
- Academia– many universities around the world teach and research international development. A PhD is required in most cases. Devstud is a useful resource. Visit our Careers in Research page to find out more.
- Think Tanks – are small organisations involved in research and policy work. Entry is usually with a Master’s. Visit our Careers in Research page to find out more.
What’s changing in the sector?
The private sector has become increasingly involved, both in delivering development and in collaboration with established players, such as NGOs and international organisations.
Increasingly, international development jobs in developing countries are undertaken by nationals from those countries.
CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.
Devex – US site with global jobs and articles.
Devnet – 100s of global development jobs.
Charityjob – Not-for-profit jobs in the UK.
Eldis – lots of sector information and a jobs section.
Bond – mainly jobs with UK based NGOs.
Escape the City – great for social enterprise jobs and career changers.
DOCON Directory of Consulting Firms – extensive country listing of consulting firms.
LSE Volunteering – volunteering opportunities in a wide variety of organisations.
Jobs.ac.uk – jobs in academia and research institutes, UK and global positions.
Project RE: – resource created by LSE alumni.