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Image UC San Diego Survey reveals that global volunteers in the US may have the workplace edge

What can give a person an edge for landing a new job or being offered a promotion? How they spent their last break could give them the edge, according to a 2011 survey by the University of California San Diego Extension's Center for Global Volunteer Service.

The survey reveals that two out of three Americans with hiring authority (67 percent) agreed that if a job candidate had foreign volunteer experience it would contribute positively to their evaluation.

Global Volunteering for Workplace Skills Development

An ongoing trend is the increased number of people becoming "service volunteers" by spending their discretionary time in meaningful ways that make contributions to others. However, survey respondents who had personally participated in a global volunteer project indicated the experience was also valuable in developing abilities back at work.

While both the general public and those returning rated global volunteer service high (more than 80 percent) for developing compassion and a willingness to give to others, participants who returned from service experiences rated workplace skill development much higher than did the public in their general perceptions.

  • Development as a leader: 73 percent for those who participated in volunteer service vs. 54 percent from general public perception
  • Development of creativity and resourcefulness: 61 percent for those who participated in volunteer service vs. 50 percent from general public perception
  • Development of intercultural awareness and sensitivity: 73 percent by those who had done volunteer service vs. 32 percent from general public perception

UC San Diego Extension regularly gathers workplace intelligence to shape its continuing education course offerings and programs. In March 2011, a total of 1010 adults from across America were surveyed on global volunteer service and the workplace.

Ratings reflecting exposure and participation in global service are the highest ever recorded in CGVS surveys:

  • Over half (52 percent) of respondents said they had joined in a discussion within the past year about participating in a volunteer service project or trip to regions outside their own community or country - a 7 percent increase over the previous UC San Diego Extension survey in 2009 and the first time that figure has risen above 50 percent
  • Over half (53 percent) of respondents said they purposely purchase products or give donations to efforts that benefit individuals in regions other than their own
  • Only 25 percent of respondents said they had not yet personally participated in ways to help people outside their own community - down from 40 percent in the previous survey and the lowest ever recorded.
The UC San Diego Extension Centre for Global Volunteer Service

Young people, in particular, are increasingly interested in global volunteer service; 91 percent of college students said they knew someone personally who had been a global service volunteer, while 87 percent of high school students gave the same response, and 61 percent of high school students said they had donated personal time to global causes.

The survey results were released to help promote awareness of National Volunteer Week in April 2011. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially in scope each year since, drawing the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents, governors, mayors and other respected elected officials.

The UC San Diego Extension Center for Global Volunteer Service™ is a resource for successful involvement in volunteering abroad. Participants in its programs learn and serve with professionals who have first-hand international experience.

The Center enables individuals of all life stages to learn and grow through global volunteer service, always within an overarching attention to personal wellness, safety, security, and sensitivity to the cultures.

For more information, visit Center for Global Volunteer Service.

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