Sustainability Careers: A Beginner’s Guide
Over the past couple of years, a culmination of political, public, corporate, and governmental interest and will has created exponential growth in the sustainability market. This trend has catalysed increased demand for sustainability services, creating new roles as companies get to grips with lofty targets and new metrics. However, the market is yet to catch up in terms of it’s supply for this demand with experiential disparities between experienced candidates and new candidates struggling to get a solid foot hold on what the market wants.
All is not lost – here's a short summary of what can help experienced and new professionals master the sustainability markets. These tips may also be beneficial to employers too!
Do some research
Read job specs, look up companies, read blog posts and reach out to people on LinkedIn. Speak to a specialist recruiter, believe it or not, they see a lot of what goes on in this space and would love to chat with you about your job search and what to expect in the market. All of this will allow you to understand WHAT it is that an ESG Manager does day to day. This will help you tailor your search and prioritise accordingly.
There is a plethora of short courses, diplomas, and secondments you could do to upskill yourself in sustainability. These evidence your commitment to future employers and will give you a better grasp of the topics in that space.
Be values driven
The sustainability space can be complex and being led by your passions will make any upskilling you may need to do interesting and rewarding, rather than being a chore. Your values will also guide you to where you want to be within the sustainability matrix.
Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, and anything in between. Knowing what you want from your next role and knowing where your strengths lie and what transferrable skills you have make a job search 100x easier. Any interviews or conversations you have, reflect, and take stock of your learning along the way – this will be an iterative process.
Transitioning into any new industry will require a slight change of trajectory, whether that be in terms of salary or responsibility. Prioritise long term progression over short term gain and be open minded.
Face your skills/knowledge gaps head on and be solutions focused on how you intend to deal with those and the challenges they might present. This holds true even in an interview, facing what you can’t YET do is a great skill – employers value that a lot.
The sustainability field is professionalising so rapidly that new jobs are being created every day and so many companies are expanding their sustainability teams. The right job is out there, just be patient and resilient.
Best of luck!