How to Get Started Working For an Environmental Charity
Have you been inspired by the recent news around COP 26 or the amazing winners of the Earthshot prize? If your dream is to help tackle today’s biggest climate issues and work at environmentally focused non-profits, we have good news.
The UK government announced that they want to quadruple the number of Green jobs by 2030. To help those considering a career in the environmental field, Bower Collective conducted a study and created a career tool that evaluates the prospects of UK eco-careers, including roles within the charity and public sector.
The study found that listings for environmental jobs in the UK this year have increased by 91% when compared to just five years ago (2016). Those entering the environmental field can expect to be earning at least 12% above the national average wage, with the average annual salary for environment-related jobs coming in at £35,267.
The best green roles
So, which roles have the best prospects? By considering market growth rate, current number of vacancies, average salary and ease of entry, the role of Climate Change Officer was found to be the best green job in the charity and public sector. The role ranks 6th on the overall green careers list, and has the fourth highest market growth rate (429%) of all the roles in the study.
Top eco jobs in the public service and charity sectors
|Rank||Job title||Average salary||Market growth rate||Level of demand||Education requirement|
|1||Climate Change Officer||£34,862||429%||Good demand||Undergraduate degree|
|2||Engagement Officer||£26,275||179%||Very high demand||Undergraduate degree|
|3||Environmental Health Manager||£32,712||419%||Low demand||Diploma/Certification|
|4||Conservation Officer||£31,557||100%||Good demand||Undergraduate degree|
|5||Environmental Campaigns Manager||£37,497||124%||Very competitive||Diploma/Certification|
|6||Fundraising Officer||£28,685||52%||High demand||Diploma/Certification|
|7||Education and Community Officer||£31,063||62%||Good demand||Relevant work experience|
Best role for salary
The role of Environmental Campaigns Manager is the best option for those wanting a well-paid career in the public service and charity sector. This has the best average salary in the sector, £37,497 (around £6,000 higher than the national average).
Best role for future opportunities
Next to the role of Climate Change Officer, Environmental Health Managers have seen a huge increase in demand over the last five years. Vacancies for the role have increased by 419%, so it’s worth considering if you are want a career with good future opportunities. The average salary of this job is also just above national average at £32,712.
Best easy-entry role
If you’re looking for a career change and want an easy-entry role that helps the planet, consider becoming an Education and Community Officer. There is a good level of demand for this role and it’s seen a 62% increase in advertised vacancies over the last five years. The minimum requirement for this job is work experience, which you can get by volunteering for environmental causes in your spare time.
So, you want to work at a green charity? Where do you start?
Get the right education and experience
More universities are offering bespoke courses for the environmental sector than ever before. For example, if you would like a marketing role at an environmentally-concerned charity, consider the University of Chichester, which offers a degree in marketing for non-profit organisations. To start exploring the different options, you can use the career finder tool to find the top universities offering the most relevant courses.
If university isn’t for you, or you’re looking for a career change, there are still plenty of ways to enter this market. Volunteering is a great way to show passion and commitment, and is less time invasive than an internship. For example, see if you can participate in a local beach clean-up.
Don’t forget to keep up with environmental news of course. And another great—and free—way to learn about climate change issues and impress interviewers is to attend free online webinars and talks. Thanks in part to Coronavirus, sites like Eventbrite and Facebook are advertising free discussions on a wide variety of relevant issues led by industry experts.
Transferable skills and indirect career paths
If your long-term goal is to work in an environmental charity but you’re struggling to find work, cast your net wider. The sector encompasses a wide range of options including social enterprises, community interest companies and voluntary groups that could provide indirect routes in.
You can still do good, and gain transferable skills, while working within other sectors too. For example, you have might have an administrative role at a company and spend your spare time participating in local activism. Then when it comes to an interview for your dream job, you can show you have both the technical skills and passion needed.
Don’t be fooled by Greenwashing
Greenwashing means making out that your company or product is more environmentally-friendly than it actually is. Recruiters and companies are now very savvy about amplifying their green credentials. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) found that 36% of HR departments are ‘amending their recruitment strategies to focus on the social and environmental stance of their business.’ Don’t be fooled by big claims and empty promises. Check to see if the charity or organisation you are applying to has a Sustainability Report with transparent and realistic targets.
This is just a glimpse of the vast number of opportunities in this growing sector. Hopefully it’s given you the confidence to go out and work towards your dream career. The planet needs you, and your talent!
Ready to look for your dream job? Start searching now!
Emily Gauntlett is Senior Content and Community Associate at Bower Collective, an online platform selling sustainable home and personal care products in refill packaging. Emily comes from a digital copywriting and marketing background and has a personal interest in sustainable living.