The 5 Most in Demand Careers in Sustainability

Environmental protection has evolved from a public concern to a corporate priority. As governments increased regulations and corporations adopted sustainable practices, their profits grew, and goals shifted from staying in compliance to publicly adopting environmentally friendly practices for the press. This shift has resulted in a demand for professionals in the field of sustainability. These professionals are needed in a variety of areas ranging from science to environmental planning.

These 5 sustainability careers are projected to experience rapid growth.

1. Production Managers

The growth of corporate sustainability requires management staff that is able to meet environmental demands. Corporations not only face the need for sustainable business models but growing government regulations, and these regulations come with required processes and reporting.

Project managers must be able to not only avoid a corporation failing to meet requirements but to find innovative ways to improve efficiency, so graduates with a green MBA are at a significant advantage when entering the workforce. With a growing felt need, corporations are hiring management staff that understands these needs, versus bringing others up to date.

2. Geoscientists

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) reports that the majority of geoscientists are within 15 years of reaching retirement age. This will result in a shortage of qualified candidates to fill positions in geoscience.

Complicating the issue of the advanced age of current geoscientists is the growth in job creation. Though a Bachelor’s degree allows graduates to enter the field, a Master’s degree is vital for advancement into management positions.

Geoscientists explore and offer solutions to environmental issues. They are responsible for ensuring maintained access to natural resources, such as quality water, while predicting future patterns that may affect availability. They spend much of their day gathering and interpreting data, however, the actual work varies widely since the sciences are diverse. Geoscientists may work in areas such as: hydrology, geophysics, oceanography, meteorology, soil science, and marine science. If it affects the Earth’s process and human life, it is studied by a geoscientist.

3. Environmental Consulting

Consulting in the environmental field covers a wide variety of jobs, and consultants may find employment in firms, stations, or government agencies. The responsibilities of a consultant will vary depending on their specialty, but they can plan on relying on observational skills and their ability to problem solve on a daily basis. As such, they may find work in assessment, threat identification, or supervising production in the field. As energy produced domestically increases, the need for expert supervision of the entire process becomes more in demand. Environmental consultants work to ensure regulations are followed and increase efficiency in industries that use natural resources.

The expansive uses for environmental consulting allows graduates with an MBA in sustainability to find a job they enjoy. Environmental consultants work in office and on site at their projects, and there are regular opportunities for travel depending on the field. This area is expected to grow at a rapid rate as government regulations evolve.

4. Sustainable Community Developers

Initiatives to increase the sustainability of communities are found at every level from small towns to major metropolitan areas. The need to balance the needs of a growing population with responsible use of natural resources requires skilled management.

Sustainable community developers work with local governments, nonprofit organizations, and community members to implement projects which improve transportation options, decrease waste, and overall reduce the carbon footprint of their community. In addition to managing projects, a developer may provide education on sustainable practices.

As public awareness for sustainability increases, the skills of a community developer will become more in demand.

5. Environmental Law

The constantly evolving environmental regulations requires corporations to consider law in every aspect of business. From construction to disposal, understanding the rules is crucial. Many corporations employ specialists in environmental law for this purpose.

Lawyers specializing in environmental law may also consult for a variety of corporations, instead of being on staff. The demand for corporations to adopt changing policies is expected to increase along with the need for professionals to handle those responsibilities.

Careers in sustainability are expected to grow across all industries. Graduates with advanced degrees will benefit from the opportunities to position themselves as experts in an emerging field. Many also allow the chance to consult as an alternative to the corporate work environment.
Sources
AGI Status of Geosciences Workforce
http://www.agiweb.org/workforce/reports/StatusoftheWorkforce2011overview.pdf