Careers in energy and environment

The energy sector is making its global transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (eg, solar, wind, hydropower, ocean, geothermal, and biomass). 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 sector is very much in the spotlight with climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and the soaring price of wholesale gas which has seen a surge in household energy bills; finding solutions to tackle this is seen as a key issue in the cost of living crisis. This page explores routes in, identifies potential job roles, and provides links where you can find further in-depth information.

What is a career in energy and environment?

Environmental and sustainability professionals work across the public and private sectors, be it industry, energy and environment 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 both graduate programmes and detailed careers information on their websites.

Where can I work, what can I do, and how can I get there?

Where can I 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 members directory, searchable by technology and business activity. 
  • 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.  
  • 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. 
  • Water – the UK has experienced its driest winter and spring since the 1970s. This has impacted the environment (crops, wildlife, and plants) and a drought has been declared in many areas of England and parts of Wales. Roles in the water sector include working as a consultant or an engineer which would require project management skills. You might work on finding solutions to water supply and storage issues, or play a part in solving the wider challenges facing the industry like the impact on the environment, high-energy costs, water scarcity, and rising water bills for households. In England and Wales, water companies include Anglian, Affinity, Severn Trent, and Thames, all of which have graduate schemes. Discover Water holds a comprehensive lists of water 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; a smaller list is viewable at Columbia SIPA.
  • 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 can I do?

Roles and organisations in the energy and environment field are diverse. We've outlined some of the major ones with links to where you can find more information. It's always a good idea to try and talk to someone who is already doing the job you're interested in, particularly with some of the 'newer' career areas like 'impact investing'. 

While some roles are for engineers, there are a huge range of commercial, business and support roles available including IT, HR, marketing, trading, procurement, finance, data management and logistics.


In the energy sector, roles have different names depending on the organisation but may include titles such as: business development analyst; commercial advisor; economist; supply analyst and finance analyst. 


How can I get there?

While many of the larger energy and utility companies and government departments offer graduate schemes, many smaller, more specialised organisations will advertise on specialist websites or rely on interested applicants making a speculative approach. Building your network and connecting with relevant alumni and others in the field, eg, through LinkedIn, can be an important way of finding out about possible openings.

If you're looking to gain experience:

Large energy companies have well-established schemes including insight days, spring weeks, internship schemes and competitions. Larger management and engineering consultancies like Deloitte, AECOM, Arcadis and Environmental Resource Management (ERM) and relevant government departments also have internships and graduate schemes.

In a competitive space, relevant experience is vital to demonstrate your commitment to the environmental sector. Gain experience through volunteering, organise work shadowing, and make speculative applications. Could you choose an undergraduate or master's level dissertation with a relevant focus? Many applicants also have a relevant master's degree.

If you're early in your career:

Several energy companies have graduate schemes that won't require prior knowledge or experience. However, specific schemes may specify that applicants need to hold a related degree (eg, if applying for an engineering programme). Others will require you to have gained some level of relevant work experience (particularly if it’s a graduate scheme which is offering a permanent contract which means you’d stay working at the company after the scheme ends).  

For entry-level roles with an environmental focus, you would usually be expected to have relevant experience.

Arrange to speak to current practitioners working in the sector about what they do – this offers a great opportunity to find out more and to build your network. There may be opportunities for volunteering or part-time research. 
Some organisations may have insight days, industry placements, and other opportunities aimed at students or recent graduates.

If you have more experience:

Specialist recruitment agencies can be useful for graduates with several years of relevant experience. For example:

  • acre – includes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), environment, energy, and responsible investment.
  • Allen & York – includes international development, energy, environment, and CSR.

If you're changing career:

If you choose a master's degree to support your move into the environmental sector, you should also look to gain some practical experience in any areas you are interested in. Make the most of the LSE alumni network and relevant LinkedIn groups, talk to people and see how you can leverage your dissertation to undertake relevant project work. 

Where can I find out more about working in this sector?

Interested in finding out more about a career in energy and environment?

Here are some helpful links, including the ways LSE Careers can work with you on your journey.



LSE Careers resources:

External resources: 

How to network with alumni in this sector:

  • Look up at LSE alumni on LinkedIn. Find some people you’d like to connect with. Perhaps they studied your course, or are working in a role / company that you’re interested in. Think about how you will introduce yourself, and what you’re hoping to get out of connecting with them.  
  • Attend LSE Careers Meet our Alum events.
  • Check out LSE Alumni Groups.

Jobs and opportunities

  • Environment Job – 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 a jobs board. 
  • LANTRA – sector skills and training organisation with career resources for the environment. 
  • The Green Jobs Network of Websites – 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. 
  • Student Ladder Energy and Utilities Graduate Schemes page – browse available graduate scheme opportunities in the sector.  
  • Environment Agency jobs – search for a range of roles, including graduate positions.
  • ClimateTechList – the web's most comprehensive climate tech job search tool, with over 30,000 climate tech jobs from 1,000 companies, updated daily.


If you’d like to discuss your options in this sector, or chat through your current plans, please book an appointment with an LSE Careers Consultant.