The environmental job market is booming right now. But how do you find the balance between finding the perfect career for you and the planet? Whether you are in school and choosing which path to follow, or are looking for a change of career, we have created a tool that lets you filter by your job priorities, and choose from over 40 different jobs in 12 different sectors. We also offer tailored advice and tips from Nick Torday, our co-founder and CEO on how to begin your professional journey towards a sustainable future.
Factoring in average salary, market growth rate and the number of jobs currently available, which careers scored best overall?
Taking top place in our study is a career as a Sustainability Consultant. With increasing pressure on businesses to consider their carbon footprint, this job is currently hot in demand.
Claiming second place is the role of Renewable Energy Engineer. With the biggest ever renewable energy support scheme announced in September, it’s no surprise that this career promises exciting opportunities.
Taking third position is a career option you may have never even have heard of: Arboriculturist. If you spent your childhood climbing trees, and have a scientific and analytical mind, this career option offers easy access and great prospects!
Fourth on the list is Land Manager, which also boasts a great average salary an ideal option for those wanting a balance of indoor and outdoor work.
In fifth place, scoring particularly well on average salary and market growth rate is the role of Environmental Policy Advisor.
Every job within the environmental sector can be rewarding, however some are just harder to come by and pay a little less. The role of Zoologist involves far more than just working in a zoo, and is a great option for those wanting to protect endangered species. However, this job is highly competitive and has one of the smallest projected growth rates (36%), landing it at the bottom of our score-board. Despite being one of the more popular environmental jobs, there are limited opportunities for Marine Biologists too, landing the career in second to last spot.
Another specialist job that has a small market growth rate and demand is Plant Breeder/Geneticist (which involves improving the quality of agriculture, crops and plants). Choosing to become an Amenity Horticulturist (which typically involves maintaining public spaces), may prove frustrating due to low salary and a competitive job market, landing it in fourth to last place. Despite a great market growth rate (128%), the current market for Urban Planning is competitive, and not as well-paid as other careers on our list.
At the top of our pay scale with an average salary of £57,511 is an occupation within Environmental Design. Environmental Designers or Architects ensure that homes and commercial buildings are built to be as environmentally friendly as possible. The career with the second-highest salary is another career already mentioned in our top five. Environmental Policy Advisors can expect an average salary of £52,146.
In third place, is a career in Environmental Law. Although this is a time-consuming career to break into, with an average salary of £51,834, the hard work pays off. Land Management is the fourth-best career overall in our study and has the fourth-highest average salary of £49,463. If you want to save the world and save money, consider a career in Waste Management. Don’t let the job title put you off; this career offers an average salary of £44,855. Reducing waste is central to the Bower mission, so we need great talent coming into this space!
Which jobs should you avoid if money makes your world go round? Despite being very similar to the role of environmental designer, an Urban Planner’s average salary is £27,861. It’s true that money doesn’t grow on trees, as Forest and Woodland Managers can only expect to earn around £26,466. Engagement Officers (£26,275), Field and Clinical Trials Technicians (£21,888) and Countryside and Park Rangers (£21,396) are in this category’s bottom three.
The UK government recently announced that it wants to quadruple the number of green jobs by 2030. With the recent news of a £24,000,000 investment in fishing, roles like Fisheries Officers have seen a 675% increase in job vacancies since 2016. If Seaspiracy inspired you, this is the career for you. Environmental Policy Advisors score highly in this aspect too, with a 550% rise.
Demand for Countryside and Park Rangers has also increased by 529%, and Climate Change Officers have seen a 429% increase. Environmental Health Practitioners (who help monitor and control pollution in the air, water and land), have seen an increase in opportunities of 419% over the past five years, the fifth most in our list.
On the other end of the spectrum, the five careers with the smallest increase in demand were Water Engineers (34%), Waste Management Officers (34%), Marine Biologists (20%), Plant Breeders and Geneticists (15%) and Hydrologists (9%).
If you’re not interested in trends, and eager to get stuck in right now, which jobs currently have the most vacancies? In the top spot is an unsurprising entry, given the state of our waste crisis: Recycling Managers and Officers! Sustainability and Environmental Consultants take second and third place, respectively.
If you are looking for a job in the charity and public sector, Engagement Officers have seen the fourth most job openings. Land Surveyors are currently the fifth most in-demand job on our list.
For those wanting a career change and a vocation that is easy to enter, Fisheries Managers and Officers and Farm Managers are the top-rated jobs in our study that require minimal formal education.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you are going to dedicate yourself to postgraduate study, jobs in Environmental Law and Scientific Research will be worth the graft. However, studying to become a Plant Geneticist or Zoologist may leave you feeling disappointed (and in thousands of pounds of student debt) due to lack of vacancies, now, and in the near future.
As a starting point, using our tool you can find the best universities offering specialist courses per field. To add to this, our co-founder and CEO, Nick Torday gives his top tips to people of all ages wanting to enter the environmental sector.
“Hi there. If you’ve used our tool to help clarify your next step in getting a job in the environmental sector, then thank you!
The planet needs you, your passion, talent and commitment to standing up against the multiple challenges facing our future. We hope you’ve found our guidance and top tips helpful and we want to wish you the very best of luck finding the role that is right for you, to help deliver the most impact. Go for it!”
Co-founder, Bower Collective