Over 40% of environment and sustainability professionals started their career in a different sector, according to a survey by IEMA.
The data comes from IEMA's practitioner poll, which found that those who started their career in non-environment or sustainability roles are happy with the change, with 87% reporting that they are satisfied or very satisfied with their choice of career change. The proportion of practitioners reporting high levels of satisfaction has risen by 10% since last year, IEMA said.
Tim Balcon, CEO of IEMA, commented: "With the economy becoming increasingly dependent on environment and sustainability skills, it's great to see that many who boast these skills are enjoying their roles to such a high level. The new skills and people that are entering the profession have a vital role to play in enhancing and supporting business action in this area."
Environment and sustainability skills are more vital to businesses than ever, with only 13% of organisations polled in separate research by IEMA believing they have the skills to successfully compete in a sustainable economy.
A lack of skilled professionals will mean that businesses are less able to deal with a growing scarcity of vital resources, the rising cost of raw materials and the impacts of climate change, IEMA believes.
The institute has published top tips for those looking to switch to a career in environment and sustainability. These include looking for opportunities in their existing companies, considering the transferability of existing skills, and gaining knowledge and qualifications, such as IEMA's associate certificate. IEMA's website also lists case studies of members who have moved from other careers including a chemist, an infantry officer and a medical researcher.