Jobs that make a difference

Job satisfaction is really important to most people, and feeling that you have made a positive difference to someone in your work can be an essential factor for many people. If you’re interested in finding more rewarding jobs, read  on – here’s the lowdown on the best  jobs that make a difference. 

Older women talking to colleagues


Finding meaningful jobs can be challenging – not least because ‘jobs that make a difference’ means different things to different people.

The first step is to identify what you consider important – what are the essential things you would want from the most rewarding careers?

Jobs that help people

It’s pretty likely that you’ll think the most rewarding jobs will be those that help people. Many people  prefer to feel that they’re doing something important that benefits someone rather than feeding a corporate machine.

But you can help people – or animals, or the environment – in lots of different ways. Here’s a selection of jobs helping people; how do they match up to what you’re seeking?


There are all kinds of caring careers, and they can be very rewarding jobs. They range from roles in care homes, to daily visits to vulnerable people, through to live-in carer roles.

You might choose to work with the elderly, with people that have a disability or are vulnerable in some other way. You can also work with a number of people or dedicate your care to a single individual.

Teacher/Teaching Assistant

Working with children is a popular career choice when it comes to the most rewarding jobs. Many of us remember a teacher that became an important role model in our lives. Teaching can definitely bring meaning into your life and work, when you can see the difference you have made in young people’s lives.

Social Work

Social work is another very important role that makes a huge difference to people. Some social workers protect children, keeping in regular contact with families that need support or working with foster carers to look after children that can’t stay with their parents. Others may help families find housing or other services, or help older or vulnerable people access the care and support they need.

Nursing and healthcare

Most nurses and healthcare workers choose their career path because they want to make a difference and help others. Their roles are well recognised as meaningful and rewarding jobs. There are a vast variety of nursing and healthcare roles in all kinds of different areas of medicine.

Public sector roles

The jobs we have looked at so far are examples where you have direct contact with people that need support. But there are many more roles that are equally valuable and rewarding, albeit a step further away from the end user. Jobs in local government or healthcare are a great example – where you might be performing an administrative job like booking appointments or planning bus routes, but it has an important impact on your local community.

Charity roles

If you have skills gained from a corporate background – such as financial management, HR, marketing or sales, these can be very valuable in a charitable setting. Most charities are set up like businesses, and operate as not-for-profit organisations. By shifting into the charity sector your efforts will ultimately helping the charity make a difference towards what it is set up to support, be it people in difficult situations or animals and the environment.


Counsellors provide a very important role in improving people’s mental health and wellbeing. With the right training you can help people tackle the things that are causing them mental distress and teach them techniques and skills to help manage their emotions. Counselling is said to be one of the most rewarding jobs as you are able to see your clients make progress with your support.

Meaningful self-employed jobs

There are also many jobs that help people through essential services. Plumbers make a big difference to people whose heating has broken down or have no hot water. Dog walkers, cleaners and gardeners help people to maintain their independence, and enjoy regular social contact. Hairdressers, beauty therapists and physiotherapists also improve people’s wellbeing through their daily work.

So there are lots of ways to work in rewarding jobs that make a difference. Once you’ve identified the type of roles that interest you, search job boards and online careers services to confirm the skills and experience that you’ll need to gain. If you need to retrain, read this article to see if you can gain government support.

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