In the Careers Service we provide impartial expert careers advice, whatever you want to do. However, given the current shift in public consciousness regarding climate change you might be thinking about how your career choices could have a positive impact on the environment.
In this blog post we hope to give you an overview of options you can consider if environmental considerations and sustainability are a priority in your career plans.
Thanks to Peter Phelps – Environment Manager here at Bath whose advice given at an Environmental Careers event in 2018 was used to shape this blog post.
Jobs in the environmental or sustainability sector
Working directly on issues that impact on the environment may be something you want to consider. The environmental and sustainability sector is a varied one with a wide variety of jobs depending on your interest from scientists and data analysts to planning and policy. Some of these roles may be in environmental organisations. However there are also many roles that include sustainability within them such as town planning or policy officers.
There are lots of resources that can help inform you on the options available within the sector:
- Our Sector Briefing webinar on environment and sustainable careers gives a broad overview of the sector and the options available
- Prospects has a good overview of the environmental sector that includes key employers. They also have information on how to get an environmental job.
- Catalyse Change, an organisation that empower young women for sustainable futures, have an excellent ebook called 5 steps to achieving your dream green career that is applicable to all
- Our round-up blog of the Environmental Careers event from 2018
- Environmental roles can often be in charities or not-for-profits. We have a useful helpsheet on careers in the charity and not-for-profit sector
What if I’m not successful or not interested in these areas?
It may be that the options within the environmental sector don’t appeal or you have tried to apply and haven’t been successful. There can be a lot of competition for roles in these areas. However, you can still consider environmental implications in your career choices even if you aren’t directly working in the sector. Especially as the issue of climate change is not a concern limited to those in the environmental sector.
We always recommend researching employers that you might want to work for. The culture and values of an organisation should be part of your research regardless, as they can give you an indication of whether the organisation will be a good fit for you. However, if the environment is important to you make sure you specifically research companies to see if they have a sustainability or ethical working policy and what it includes.
Consider changing the company from within
Once you start work somewhere, consider if there are things you can do to make the organisation have a lower environmental impact. Can you push for better recycling or incentives for greener commuting? Can you work in an area that might have a positive impact on the environment (e.g. working on electric cars in the automotive industry)? Are there ways you can shape the aspects of work you are involved in so that they consider and reduce their impact on the environment?
Environmental issues are something almost all businesses now have to consider and grapple with, so it is likely there will be opportunities for you to be involved in progressing this wherever you work.
Make an impact outside of work
On an individual level, you can still make an impact. Consider volunteering in your spare time to causes related to environmental or sustainability issues.
Do-it is a great database of volunteering opportunities in the UK. You can refine your search to opportunities with environmental causes.
As well as volunteering of course, don't forget about individual actions you can make in your lifestyle to be more sustainable.
80,000 hours – organisation that offer careers advice to help your career choices make the most social impact. It has information on a variety of the world’s most pressing issues and how you can make the most impact on them as an individual. Also considers the concept of ‘earning to give’.
People and Planet Society – Student environmental society at the University of Bath
If you are interested in careers in the environmental sector or need help with anything else careers-related, we can help.