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by Alice Porter | June 25, 2019

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According to Environmental Business International, over 1.6 million people work in the U.S environmental sector. Compared to the annual growth predictions, the skill shortage for jobs within this industry is becoming greater every day. As we move towards a more sustainable way of life, the need for a wide remit of environmental jobs is becoming more of a necessity. As it stands, the global environmental sector will be in a deficit of 40 percent due to skill shortages.

Skills shortages are a huge contributor to the gap that currently sits between major global countries taking the lead to create an environmental economy. Postgraduate and professional skills are highly sought after by multiple companies and businesses. In order to make a positive change, this industry needs to be incentivized and put in front of a wider audience.

What skills are needed?

By 2025, it’s predicted that the U.S. environmental economy will be worth $4 billion. Currently, the green market holds the same value as non-renewable energy industries, due to renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, water,k and pollution services. Because of this, there is a huge demand for renewable energy and energy management roles, as well as a high demand for ecologists who have field identification skills in order to monitor and track climate change and biodiversity.

Companies which spread across multiple sectors are set to employ more environmentalists for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) or public relations benefits. But, there is extra competition for graduate roles, with more people studying for a professional qualification or Masters degree in a relevant field.

Internships are a fantastic way to initiate your career within the environmental sector. These offer you the opportunity to gain real life experience, either before or after your studies. Despite many graduate roles becoming available, having industry experience will make you a more valuable and sought-after candidate, as you will be able to hit the ground running. Big environmental sectors, such as the green energy sector, are particularly fast-paced and require a deeper understanding of the industry and role.

Where are the top locations for green jobs?

All over the globe, there are countries who are looking to expand on their environmental industry, so “green jobs” are becoming much more sought after. Therefore, if you are looking to get into a specialist sector within the industry, you should consider expanding your horizons to further afield.

U.K.

In 2018 alone, the capacity for renewable energy far surpassed that for fossil fuel within the U.K. The demand for renewable energy is growing as households and companies look to do their bit for the environment, so such jobs are increasing. There are many locations across the U.K., Scotland, and Wales which are focusing solely on wind and water energy, so jobs in these sectors are becoming more and more desirable. 

The U.K. is now investing more than ever into its environmental sector and this increase is attracting more interest in workers from overseas. If you are looking to work and live within the UK from another country, then you will need to obtain the right working visa, as UK based work is reliant upon tier 2 visa sponsors.

Canada

Canada is world-famous for its environmental conservation efforts, thus making it a highly attractive location to live and work for graduates and young adults. Canada has many top-quality facilities to encourage its budding scientists to grow and environmental engineers to grow and also offers some of the best education facilities for environmental engineers and specialists.

The Netherlands

Currently, there are thousands of wind turbines currently in operation across The Netherlands and, by 2020, the EU is planning to achieve 14 percent wholly renewable energy. The Netherlands relies heavily on wind energy to meet this goal. So, in order to achieve this goal, it is looking to increase the number of wind turbines. Maintaining these turbines will create hundreds of new jobs for technical experts from across the globe.

U.S.

The annual growth rate for the green energy and environmental sectors are around 4.8 percent a year in the U.S. This extremely lucrative sector has generated $370 in dollars alone in 2018 and offers many exciting graduate roles. In addition to the ever-growing industry, the U.S. also provides an excellent starting point for studies. Some of the top universities in in the U.S. offer environmental science courses, including UC Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard.

The most popular roles within the environmental sector stem from pollution control and green energy technology. These roles are extremely science-focused, so in order to break into this sector, you must first obtain the necessary qualifications.

A final note

The environmental sector is constantly growing, and as we move into a more sustainable way of life, it’s evident that working in a sustainable job will not only bring you job security but also comfort that your role will be directly improving the environment. 

In order to combat the skills shortage in the environmental sector, more people need to be made aware of the roles available. Whether this will involve emigrating, studying, or simply switching sector, there is so much opportunity and scope for growth.

Alice Porter is the recruitment coordinator for Eversmart Energy. She aims to spread awareness for green career paths and create a wider dialogue for environmentally conscious living. 

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