The future's bright - Job trends in 2012

8th December 2011


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All the signs are pointing to more job opportunities for environmentalists in 2012, says Vicky Kenrick

Energy and environment legislation, cost savings and a desire for public environmental credentials are the driving forces behind new jobs being created in the energy industry, while rising pressure on water supplies and mounting waste problems are fuelling demand for more environment management professionals.

With significant challenges facing fossil fuel extraction and production, some of the world’s leading energy companies are already getting behind renewables. In fact, global investment in renewable energy increased 30% between 2009 and 2010, reaching levels of $243 billion.

This growth is due not only to utility companies seeking to comply with carbon reduction requirements, but also to businesses’ sustainability efforts, with large corporations investing in or building their own renewable energy facilities. At Allen & York, the international sustainability recruitment specialists, we are seeing this interest reflected in an increase in the number of renewable energy positions becoming available in corporations.

Meanwhile, targets set by the EU to increase renewable energy provision to 20% by 2020 is also driving job creation. According to the renewables trade association RenewableUK, more than 250,000 new jobs will be created in the European wind sector over the next decade, and Allen & York are definitely experiencing a greater demand for candidates in the wind sector. Specifically, there are growing job opportunities for wind farm project-managers, while connecting such facilities to the grid means there is need for more grid-connection development engineers and for consultants in transmission and distribution.

There is also an increased demand for environmental impact assessors to undertake the necessary audits and assessments for developments. This is a growing technical area and skilled professionals in social impact assessment are rare and in demand on a global scale by renewable energy developers.

Allen & York’s energy services recruitment team is also seeing rising demand for carbon/energy consultants, managers and directors, all of whom are at the front line of providing expertise and delivering solutions to major energy users from both the private and public sectors – director-level roles currently attract salaries of up to £80,000.

Global population growth and climate change are intensifying pressure on resources such as water, resulting in rising demand for skilled water management professionals. As water supplies come under increasing stress, treatment processes and water engineering activities are playing a key role in delivering safe, reliable water supplies to households, industry and agriculture, and in safeguarding the quality of water in rivers, lakes, aquifers and coastal areas.

Experienced water engineering professionals are required, more than ever, to operate and manage these vital water and wastewater treatment services. This demand will only increase in coming years as environmental standards for water quality multiply. Allen & York has a number of water engineering, flood modelling and hydrologist career opportunities available, with leading organisations offering salaries of up to £50,000 for experienced water engineers.

Waste management is another sector to receive a boost in job opportunities as waste volumes rise and greater restrictions are placed on disposal. The waste recruitment team at Allen & York is seeing a rise in demand for roles in: waste and resource efficiency, energy-from-waste and waste engineering.

Although the recession has affected UK and global job markets, the sustainability industry is not suffering as much as others – in sectors such as renewable energy, water and waste management, jobs are still being created.


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