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Environment: Sector Overview

a guide to environmental, conservation and renewable energy careers


Sector Overview

What jobs are available and how to get them


  • It is still a tough market for graduates. Candidates with specialist skills applied to new areas of business focus will be most successful
  • Environment Analyst's annual UK environmental consultancy market assessment for 2012 shows signs of growth in a generally sluggish domestic market. Key service areas include environmental impact assessment and contaminated land services. Job losses have declined

Facts & Figures

  • Nearly 940,000 worked in the UK Low Carbon Goods and Services sector in 2010/11, according to a BIS report
  • That was a growth of 2.8%, the first positive sign of growth in the sector since the recession in 2008
  • Over a third of the UK's economic growth in 2011/12 was likely to have come from the green economy, according to the CBI (pdf)

Sector Overview

  • The environment sector looks like being a growth sector at the moment, despite the recession
  • There is a business case for good environmental practices, leading to greater demand for climate change and carbon reduction services
  • Conversely, environmental assessment work has reduced following the closure of many infrastructure projects
  • Degrees in geography, environmental science or other life sciences could all be useful. Some areas may require postgraduate study
  • Additional sustainability qualifications are sought after by employers


Job Roles and Opportunities

  • The environment sector is extremely diverse. It covers hands-on roles in conservation, wildlife and forestry management. There are also scientific roles in air/water quality, ecology and renewable energy. Plus, there are specialist areas in environmental law/policy, engineering and education. You also have environmental consultancy which could encompass everything
  • Sustainability is a growth area. Larger employers will now have environmental managers and departments to cover energy efficiency, waste management etc. Corporate Social Responsibility is another area linked to this
  • Find out more about the different areas of work and sub-sectors. Look at job profiles to get an idea about what jobs entail and how to get in

Alumni Careers Network

Use our Alumni Careers Network to find Sussex graduates working in areas you are interested in. Find out more about what working in that sector is really like, get direct advice and find out if it's right for you!