In the face of climate catastrophes, global biodiversity loss, and resource scarcity, the natural reaction of most people is panic. Many also choose to live in blissful ignorance by denying such issues exist. However, some among us are trying to face these challenges head-on. These motivated young people want to carve out their careers in places that make a real difference. As a result, careers in sustainability management are on the rise.
Careers in Sustainability Management
Sustainability does not refer to a single sector, but rather, is a focus across multiple industries. Jobs in sustainability are focused on the environmental, social, and economic aspects of a business. Private and public companies today are increasingly focused on sustainability and are willing to hire experienced professionals in the space, irrespective of the industry they inhabit.
The Importance of a Career in Sustainability Management
Sustainability is vital in the world we live in. Several environmental and social challenges plague us. Choosing a career in sustainability puts you in a suitable space to help combat these issues and make a difference. People passionate about preserving the environment or slowing down climate change should consider careers in sustainability management.
Besides promoting social equity and environmental preservation, sustainability initiatives have been known to contribute to the success of organizations. According to a McKinsey survey, more than 70% of customers would pay up to 5% more for a green alternative to their preferred product if it meant the same performance. This means that while sustainability strategies are expensive in the short term, they lead to greater long-term profits.
Required Skills for Sustainability Management
While there is a wide range of careers in sustainability management, there are certain similarities in the skills needed to excel at each. Here are some that can help you achieve success in the field:
- Systems analysis
- Personnel management
- Operations analysis
How to Start Careers in Sustainability Management
To build successful careers in sustainability management, you will need to start with a degree. An associate’s degree, a two-year degree program, can score you some jobs. To secure higher positions, you’d be better served by getting a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
With an associate’s degree, you can apply for jobs like a park ranger, forester, or environmental science technician. These jobs may bring an annual salary of around $30,000 to $50,000. With a bachelor’s degree, you can become an environmental consultant or environmental engineer, making you between $60,000 and $100,000.
What Education is Needed for Sustainability Management?
While there are many jobs available when choosing careers in sustainability management, sustainability management students are also spoilt for choice. Explore one of the following degrees to kickstart your career:
- A Master’s in Public Health, which is focused on environmental and occupational health
- An MBA with Sustainability Concentration that focuses on sustainability and environmental management in the business sector
- A Master of Science in Global Energy Management, which has to do with management in the energy sector
What Tools and Skills do Sustainability Managers Need?
Sustainability managers need to use a variety of skills to meet their job requirements, some of which are as follows:
- Solving complex problems using systems thinking to analyze systems and determine how their components interact
- Understanding the fundamentals of economics, marketing, and accounting
- Assessing and interpreting scientific as well as business data
- Leading and motivating subordinates to achieve their goals
- Communicating and coordinating with various departments and stakeholders
Best Jobs in Sustainability Management
When it comes to careers in sustainability management, the following jobs are some of the best you can aim for, based on salary data sourced from Indeed.com:
1. Solar Consultant
They work on educating clients about the benefits of solar energy with the intent of driving sales.
Average Salary: $119,369 per year
2. Environmental Manager
They work with businesses to ensure compliance with sustainability regulations.
Average Salary: $91,292 per year
3. Environmental Health and Safety Specialist
They enforce guidelines for businesses in keeping with environmental health and safety regulations.
Average Salary: $84,913 per year
Sustainability Management Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 44,000 environmental engineers were employed in the U.S. in 2021. They earned a median salary of around $96,820 per year. Salaries for sustainability professionals vary significantly and are dependent on a variety of factors like industry, job responsibilities, etc.
According to Payscale.com, sustainability specialists in the U.S. can earn an average salary between $41,000 and $79,000 per year. In comparison, mid-career sustainability specialists could draw a salary between $51,000 and $93,000 annually.
Sustainability Management for the Future
Amid growing concerns about the environment, it is reasonable to assume that the field of sustainability management will continue to grow. As more and more consumers become willing to pay a premium for green products, the demand amongst businesses for well-trained sustainability professionals will only increase.
Suppose you are interested in entering this fulfilling and lucrative space to build your future career in sustainability management. In that case, you will need to build a formidable arsenal of skills to help you succeed. Take up sustainability courses from Emeritus to help you build those skills and grow into an expert.
By Tanish Pradhan
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