The sustainability field is growing exponentially each year locally and globally. Businesses, schools, nonprofit organizations and government agencies are increasingly recognizing the necessity and benefits of having a sustainability professional among their ranks. Sustainability is incredibly broad in scope and there are job opportunities in virtually every academic field.
Some of the key growth areas are energy and resource conservation, renewable energy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), climate action, urban planning, health and safety, economic development, high performance building, higher education faculty, sustainability management, and many more. Chances are, whatever field you are studying, there are sustainability positions that can capitalize on your skills.
Thinking about a career in sustainability? Here are some tips to help get you started.
Know the work involved. There are many different areas within this field - corporate reporting, scenario planning, business development and facilitating stakeholder dialogue to name a few. Get an understanding of the range of approaches and decide which ones are of interest to you.
Experience and qualifications come first. Passion for sustainable development on its own is, unfortunately, not enough. You will need qualifications or experience to back up your commitments.
Know the major players. Spend time researching who does what in the field before approaching prospective employers.
Keep up to date. There are many specialist magazines and websites that cover sustainable development issues. It is important to be aware of new developments.
Understand business. If you are looking for work in the 'business and sustainable development' field, experience in a business environment and knowledge of how corporate companies operate is essential.
Networking works. There are many conferences and meetings taking place all over the world where people get together and discuss sustainable development issues - not all are expensive to attend and some may offer discount rates if you are an enthusiastic student.
Don't forget the fundamentals. As with many other jobs, computer skills, writing ability, foreign languages, good communication skills and level-headed thinking are always desirable, if not essential.
Check out some of the websites below for more information on career and job opportunities and how to get started in this exciting field.
AASHE - Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
Affordable Colleges Online Green Career Guide
Environmental Career Opportunities
Green Jobs Network
NCSE - National Council for Science and the Environment
OneWorld Global Jobs
Solar Job Census
Solar Career Map
Wind Career Map