If you have been following COP26, you’ll know the green economy is likely to generate 24 million jobs globally across the next decade, to include engineering, research and conservation. The demand for a sustainable future is likely to drive economic opportunities worth billions. Not only that, but it’s an absolute must for tackling climate change.

What sector could I be working in?

You could be working in government, third sector organisations, think tanks, or international organisations such as the UN. Within the private sector, you might work in sustainability or corporate social responsibility (CSR) or environmental protection. Resource management covers things like water, forestry, nuclear, gas, chemical, electricity, oil and mining companies. There are also opportunities in R&D, business and technical functions.

It is less likely that you will start your green career on a graduate scheme. The main route is through immediate start roles – after all, sustainability can’t wait.

What job might I be doing?

Big name employers actively hire for environmental scientists, water consultants and the like. You can read sustainable job descriptions on the ENDS Report website. Alternatively, you could work more broadly in finance or engineering, but with a focus on sustainability.

Environmental concerns are no longer considered ‘fringe’ issues – they play an important role in most careers to some extent. So you might also consider working for a company that has committed to net zero initiatives. Research potential employers to find out more about their values and how they are driving change, through sites like Ethical Consumer, EIRIS and Corporate Watch.

Where can I look for jobs?

Below is a list of jobs boards you can use to find sustainable jobs. But keep in mind that sustainability crosses many sectors. It’s not only environmentally-focused employers recruiting for sustainability skills – the education, retail and marketing sectors are also on the lookout. For STEM jobs in sustainability, try Gradcracker.

What about further study?

Work-based learning pathways are also an option. The Environment Agency offers an MSc in Flood and Coastal Engineering, for graduates who are looking to become chartered engineers. Additionally, The Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales offers postgraduate courses. There are bursaries available, and you can spread the cost of your tuition fees.

You could also consider a PhD with a focus on climate, sustainability and environment. The Natural Environment Research Council is responsible for funding research in this area. Doctoral Training Partnerships, or DTPs, offer funded PhD opportunities by bringing together several universities. Consider a PhD from the Panorama DTP (Leeds, York and Hull), or the E4 DTP in Edinburgh.

Check out our other resources on environmental careers:

If you’d like to talk to an adviser about sustainable careers, book an appointment on MyFuture.

With thanks to Saiyada Fazal for her insights.

Posted in: Career Choice


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