Careers in Energy and Environment

 

In brief

The energy sector covers traditional oil and gas energy companies as well as those focused on renewables, i.e. solar, wind, water and bio-based energy sources such as crops. Many of the main energy providers, like E.ON, EDF, BP and Shell, are now the biggest investors in renewable development.

Environmental specialists work for industry, government, international organisations, think tanks, charities etc. in areas including conservation, energy, climate change, environmental assessment and corporate social responsibility (CSR).  

The sector is interdisciplinary and employs graduates from a range of backgrounds.

Where can you work?

  • International Oil and Gas Companies – typically global producers operating across continents. Have well established graduate programmes and detailed careers information on their websites, e.g. BP and Shell both offer a ‘degree matcher’ tool. Rigzone features a comprehensive, searchable global oil and gas company directory.
  • Utilities Sector – 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.
  • Renewable Energy Sector – as technologies develop and costs reduce, renewable energy is an increasingly commercial option. The Renewable Energy Association has a member directory, searchable by technology and business activity.
  • Environmental Consultancies – typically include divisions within management and engineering consultancies, national and local government, NGOs and smaller specialist consultancies. ENDS provides a searchable global database of over 1000 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 has sent a signal around the world: climate change is a serious issue that most governments are determined to address. The renewables sector is therefore likely to see huge growth, with potential for LSE graduates to build careers in the clean energy and renewables industry. 

While many positions have a technical bias, we are seeing more roles with a commercial focus. The greatest growth is predicted in areas including climate change, emissions management and sustainability along with environmental impact assessment. Emerging areas of work include scenario modelling.

Useful websites

CareerHub – jobs board targeting LSE students, including events and networking opportunities.

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.

Renewable energy

The Renewable Energy Association – 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 member’s 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 -  overview of the sector.

Environmental

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 Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) – worldwide alliance of environmental and sustainability professionals. Has communities including impact assessment and climate change and energy. Student membership is £25. 

The Green Directory – a searchable directory of green organisations including ethical finance and alternative energy.

Environment Jobs – interesting range of sustainability, conservation and climate change roles advertised.

Eldis – jobs, volunteering and research opportunities in the environmental and development fields worldwide.

Useful Information

Routes in

Introduction

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, e.g. through LinkedIn, can be an important way of finding out about possible openings.

If you’re looking to gain experience

Traditional 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 environment, 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 on in your career

Many energy companies have graduate schemes that don't require prior knowledge or experience. However, for entry level roles with an environmental focus you would usually be expected to have relevant experience.

Arrange to speak to current practitioners 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.

If you have more experience

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

ACRE – includes CSR, environment, energy and responsible investment.

Allen & Yorke – 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 the area(s) 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 project work.

Not sure what to do next?

We're here to talk over your career plans with you. It doesn't matter what stage you're at, so don't feel you have to have it all worked out. You can book a one-to-one appointment with a careers consultant on CareerHub.

Job roles

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 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 upstream and downstream commercial, business and support roles available including IT, HR, marketing, trading, procurement, finance, data management and logistics. 

Energy

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.

 

Environment

  • Conservation officer – protects, manages and enhances the local environment. Encourages awareness and understanding about the natural environment and may include a policy aspect. The Prospects Conservation officer job profile provides further details.
  • Environmental consultant – may work on several environmental issues or specialise in one area, such as air, land or water contamination, environmental impact assessment, etc. Check out the Prospects Environmental consultant job profile.
  • Sustainability consultant – oversees the environmental performance of organisations and audits corporate activities to ensure compliance with environmental legislation. For more information, visit the Prospects Sustainability consultant job profile.
  • Policy Officer – provides expert advice concerning environmental conservation, contributing to the development, implementation and monitoring of an organisation's environmental policies.
  • Sustainable impact investor – incorporates environmental, social and governance factors in financial services decision-making. The UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) is a useful source of further information.
  • Waste management officer – organises and manages waste disposal, collection and recycling facilities. The Prospects Waste management officer job profile provides further details.
  • Recycling Officer – plans and develops waste recycling and reduction policies. Check out the Prospects Recycling officer job profile.
  • Energy manager – regulates and monitors energy use with a view to improving efficiency, reducing environmental impact and implementing policy. The Prospects Energy manager job profile tells you more.
  • Environmental education officer – promotes environmental conservation and sustainable development. Includes education, marketing and publicity. The Prospects Environmental education officer job profile and the TARGETjobs  Environmental education officer job description are useful resources.

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