The short answer is people from all backgrounds with a wide range of skillsets. There is a common misconception that to work in the environment sector, you need to have studied an environmental subject such as ecology, environmental management, conservation, geography, marine science, or zoology. These can be useful for a certain career path, but there are many more opportunities within the environment sector, and your experiences could make you an excellent candidate.
Perhaps your passion lies in teaching, working with young people, or you are particularly skilled with numbers and datasets. Maybe you’ve always been an excellent writer, or your perfectionist tendencies would make you a fantastic editor with some training. If you enjoy being around people and developing relationships, human resources, event management, or fundraising might be a good fit for you. Conservation Careers has excellent resources outlining the key roles in conservation.
Take a look at some of the job boards in the ‘Where to look’ section below and see which roles most appeal to you, and then look at the kind of experience they are asking for. For many roles, such as communications, finance, fundraising, operations, and event management, you may already have experience outside the environment sector which could be relevant to your application for a career path using your skills to protect Earth’s resources.
It is worth acknowledging that the environmental sector has a long way to go to be inclusive to applicants from different backgrounds and lived experiences which is essential for a strong and diverse workforce. Lack of paid entry-level opportunities, lack of consideration for people with accessibility requirements, and lack of education about opportunities in the environmental sector for young people (particularly those growing up in cities) are just some of the barriers the environmental sector must overcome to become more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.
Various projects are ongoing to educate people already working in the sector, provide better entry-level opportunities, and demonstrate best practice for inclusive recruitment and employment such as Race for Nature’s Recovery (Synchronicity Earth participated in this project as an employer, read our Kickstarter Reefah’s account of her placement here), New to Nature, Young Leaders for Sustainable Cities, the RACE Report, the Countryside for All research project, and various organisations working with and within the sector to improve career opportunities for people from under-represented backgrounds such as Black Geographers, Birding for All, Full Colour, Hindu Climate Action, and South Asians for Sustainability.