Opportunities in the energy and environmental sectors are expanding as the transition to a sustainable, circular, low-carbon economy is accelerating across the world.
The energy sector in particular is making its global transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass).
Environmental and sustainability specialists work across the public and private sectors, be it industry, consultancies, government, international organisations, think tanks, or charities. You can focus on a variety of areas, including climate change, energy and low-carbon technologies, circular economy, biodiversity conservation, environmental impact assessment, sustainable supply chain, and corporate sustainability.
The sector is interdisciplinary and employs graduates from a range of backgrounds, with large companies offering graduate programmes and detailed careers information on their websites.
Where can you work?
- Renewable energy – the distribution of renewable energy is expanding rapidly as technology has matured and costs have reduced dramatically. Opportunities exist across the value chain from technology providers (for example Vestas wind turbines and General Electric) to large renewable energy groups (for example Orsted and Vattenfall) and energy services groups (for example ENGIE and Bouygues Energy). The Renewable Energy Association has a member directory, searchable by technology and business activity.
- Oil and gas – typically with global producers operating across continents, for example BP and Shell. Rigzone features a comprehensive, searchable global oil and gas company directory, and the Transition Pathway Initiative tool provides insight into how prepared these companies might be for the transition to a low carbon economy.
- Utilities – in the UK there are six big energy suppliers, each with graduate schemes: British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Which provides a useful list of smaller utility companies and alternative suppliers.
- Environmental consultancies – typically includes divisions within management and engineering consultancies (for example ARUP and AECOM), national and local government, NGOs and smaller specialist consultancies. ENDS provides a searchable global database of over 1,000 environmental consultancies.
- Policy and regulation – roles can be found in think tanks, research institutes, local and national government, charities, NGOs and international organisations. The Environment Agency is the largest employer of environmental professionals in the UK.
- Conservation – typical employers include charities, national parks and local authorities. Conservation Careers provides a list of organisations and further careers advice.
What's changing in the sector?
The Paris Agreement sent a signal around the world: climate change is a serious issue that most governments are determined to address. The renewables sector is therefore seeing huge growth, and demand for sustainability and environmental roles is increasing more generally, with potential for LSE graduates to build careers across the sector.
While many positions have a technical bias at graduate level, we are seeing more diversity of roles coming into the market. The greatest growth is predicted in areas including climate change, biodiversity (nature-based solutions), circular economy, emissions management and corporate sustainability as more companies set ambitious net zero carbon goals.
CareerHub – showcases jobs, events and networking opportunities for LSE students
Energy and utilities
Prospects – Energy and Utilities – provides a useful overview of the sector along with links to a range of professional bodies and other sources
Energy and Utility Skills – list of members, useful for finding out which organisations and companies work in or with the energy industry
The Renewable Energy Association – showcases news, jobs and events in the renewable energy sector, also includes a member directory
Renewable UK – focuses on wind, solar and tidal energy and has a searchable global members' directory
Vault Guides – LSE subscription to guides including Energy, Oil and Gas and Alternative Energy. Scroll down to ‘Vault: Career Insider' and click on the link to log in.
Prospects – Careers in the renewable energy industry – provides an overview of the sector
Environment job boards
Environment Jobs – an interesting range of sustainability, conservation and climate change roles advertised
ACRE – market-leading sustainability and ESG recruitment agency
ENDS – Environmental Data Services is a source of environmental and sustainability intelligence and includes a searchable global database of over 1000 environmental consultancies and jobs board
LANTRA – sector skills and training organisation with career resources for the environment
Green Jobs – links to a wide range of job sites including renewables, energy and environment
The Green Directory – a searchable directory of green organisations including ethical finance and alternative energy
Eldis – jobs, volunteering and research opportunities in the environmental and development fields worldwide
The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) – a worldwide alliance of environmental and sustainability professionals. Has communities including impact assessment and climate change and energy. Student membership is £25.
EDIE – sustainability professionals' network and news board
Ethical Corporation magazine – a sustainable business news board and magazine by Reuters
Sustainability magazine – a sustainable business news board and magazine