About half of those responsible for the corporate citizenship function inside American corporations have a public relations or other communications background, according to a new study, Profile of the Profession 2010: Corporate Citizenship Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, conducted by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.
An overwhelming majority of those surveyed (93 percent) have a background in some other field or position. Almost half the respondents (44.6 percent) cited experience in some sort of communications role, including public relations (24.2 percent), corporate communications (22.6 percent) or marketing (23.9 percent).
For most of the professionals surveyed, corporate citizenship duties are a full-time job with relationships inside and outside the company at the core of their work. Building internal partnerships with other departments (86.3 percent) and building relationships with external stakeholders (84.2 percent) are the two functions most frequently cited as part of their job responsibilities.
Volunteering and philanthropy also remain important parts of corporate citizenship positions. Almost 75 percent of respondents list implementation of those programs among their responsibilities, and establishing strategy for such programs is among the responsibilities of most professionals surveyed, though more (70.5 percent) are involved in community involvement strategy than in corporate citizenship strategy (50.2 percent).
The top three skills cited by respondents as the most critical to success in corporate citizenship positions were the ability to influence, leading/motivating others, and network building.