Sustainability & Environmental Management
Increasing public awareness of sustainability and environmental issues has led to a greater number of opportunities in these areas. More organisations are now investing in sustainable development and renewable energy sources as well as developing more efficient processes, using fewer natural resources and reducing waste.
Jobs involving environmental work are varied and can be found in the following sectors:
- Voluntary and charity sector, e.g. wildlife and habitat conservation charities and environmental NGOs, pressure groups, expeditions, and trusts
- Public sector, e.g. regulatory bodies, such as local authorities, the Environment Agency, research institutes, educational establishments, and national parks and monuments
- Intergovernmental and international sector, e.g. United Nations (UNEP, UNDP, FAO, WFP), international environmental think tanks and research institutes, commissions and consultative bodies
- Private sector, ranging from sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) teams in large, multinational companies to those involved in environmental protection and resource management, such as the water and forestry industries, nuclear, gas, chemical, electricity, oil and mining companies, environmental consultancies, sustainability consultancies and research firms, eco-tourism businesses, and companies involved in renewable energy sources
Types of roles
Environmental managers are responsible for assessing an organisation’s impact on the environment and implementing improvements that are in line with relevant policy and legislation.
Job profile of an environmental manager from the Prospects website
Job profile of an environmental manager from the Target Jobs website
Environmental consultants advise organisations on a range of environmental issues so that they can comply with the law and reduce any effects their operations may have on the environment.
Job profile of an environmental consultant from the Prospects website
Environmental education officers raise awareness of conservation and sustainability through giving talks, teaching programmes to schools, families or community groups, leading guided walks, collating scientific data, recruiting volunteers, generating fundraising activities, and also organising promotion through leaflets, newsletters and websites.
Job profile of an environmental education officer from the Prospects website
Environmental scientists assess the impact that humans have on the environment.
Job profile of an environmental scientist from the Target Jobs website
Sustainability consultants advise clients on making their business/development as sustainable as possible.
Job profile of a sustainability consultant from the Prospects website
- A genuine interest in and understanding of environmental issues, relevant legislation, policy and renewable energy sources
- The ability to balance your commitment to the environment with commercial requirements
- Excellent communication skills to rationally explain, explore and discuss environmental issues
- The ability to build relationships with a range of people, such as project managers and contractors
- Excellent numeracy and literacy skills for analysing and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data, carrying out research, writing reports and making recommendations
- Flexibility to work under pressure, responding to changing legislation
- The ability to lead on projects
- Attention to detail and a methodical approach to work
- Good organisation and time management
Finding a job
This is a growing, but emerging, sector so there is presently a lack of large graduate recruiters in this field. It is therefore essential to network as much as possible. Ensure you are aware of current environmental issues and let your contacts know that you are available for work. Gaining some work experience through volunteering will also help you stand out from the competition.
The Environmental Data Services (ENDS) website and the environment and sustainability recruitment website ACRE are good places to look for advertised roles. Other websites include:
- Change Agents UK – recruits early careerists for a range of paid projects with ethical organisations.
- IEMA Jobs
The specialist publication, New Scientist, has a dedicated jobs section for Earth, Environment & Energy roles.
Charities such as TCV, Friends of the Earth and The Wildlife Trusts all advertise job opportunities on their respective websites. Local authorities will also advertise environment related jobs on their websites.