Environment and Sustainability Careers: A Growing Choice in U.K.

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Environment and sustainability roles are clearly becoming the career change of choice in the U.K., with growing demands from businesses to recruit these professionals. Ninety percent of those polled by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) said that they were “very satisfied” working in these roles and consider themselves “career changers.” The reported levels of satisfaction have risen a full ten percent among the same group since last year. Skills in this profession are proving to be vital; IEMA’s published research Preparing for the Perfect Storm found that there is a skills gap and only 13 of organisations surveyed are fully confident that they have the skills to successfully compete in a sustainable economy.

By 2020 the global economy could be facing a resource supply deficit caused by a rising population matched with growing scarcity of vital resources and rapidly rising prices of key essential materials such as energy, magnified by climate change challenges. Collectively, these issues will not only affect the ability of business to operate, but limit its ability to take advantage of opportunities to enhance competitiveness and productivity. IEMA says that environment and sustainability skills are the key to turning these challenges into opportunities. Many U.K. businesses are recognising these opportunities, and are inserting environment and sustainability skills into the fabric of their business.

Contrary to much of the rest of the U.K.’s economy, pay levels in the environment and sustainability profession continue to rise, making the profession very attractive. Further, results from IEMA’s Practitioner Survey, carried out annually since 2007, reveal that almost three quarters of Environment and Sustainability professionals experienced a pay rise during 2014, a figure which has substantially increased from the previous year.

This growing demand by British businesses for sustainability professionals has meant that universities in the U.K. are changing their teaching programmes to ensure they can provide the right skills for the British workforce. The Ashridge Business School in Hertfordshire has created a Masters Degree in Sustainability and Responsibility, while the Forum for the Future, along with Middlesex University, is offering a Masters Degree in Leadership for Sustainable Development. The program has a 90 per cent employment rate for its graduates within three months of graduation in jobs with companies and organisations such as M&S, KPMG, Sainsbury’s, WWF and Greenpeace. Also, the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, based at Nottingham University Business School, is launching a new MSc in Sustainability that joins its MBA in CSR, the first of its kind in the U.K., and its MSc in CSR degree, one of the country’s leading courses.

There’s every possibility that soon sustainability will become the core of every business degree course in the U.K. and a lucrative career for the future, one that our children should be aiming for today.

Photo Credit: IEMA