Schooling in the 1980s and 90s saw an increasing focus on conservation efforts, as numerous environmental problems came to the fore. Now, those children are graduating college and looking for opportunities in the work world to make a difference and still earn a regular paycheck.
The intervening years have only brought more problems and more attempts to address them from government bureaucracies, private sector business, and non-profit organizations. The job market in some sectors has faced setbacks owing to the recent economic turmoil, but the green sector remains strong, and graduates looking for socially conscious work have a number of opportunities to choose from.
The Non-profit Sector
Arguably the hardest hit by the 2009 down-swing, non-profit job opportunities are still available for graduating students. Though the pay is typically less than in other sectors, the work is often gratifying and always public oriented. The current focus is on growth in the business side of non-profits, including operations managers, development officers and financial planners.
Many students seek higher pay than what is offered here, but that should not stop you from exploring options. Most student loan plans offer generous repayment schedules and loan forgiveness after a set number of years. It is worthwhile to explore these before writing off the opportunity for your dream job.
Green Government Jobs
A large number of new hires are entering the government sector, because pay is decent and there are choices. Several bureaucracies are now using direct hire to recruit directly from college campuses, and the federal government is one of the largest employers of environmental professionals. Whether it is the USDA forest service, EPA, or even state level work, the increasing number of retirees are leaving vacant positions to fill.
Several of the nation’s largest cities are also investing heavily in green technology, making it even easier to find a great job. Degrees in architecture, communications, and political science are currently most valuable in San Francisco, Boston and New York City, and the municipal sector is expected to grow as more cities see the benefits of investing in green technology. Portland also has several programs in need of new hires, and Detroit has seen an influx of federal investing in the green sector.
Private Sector Greening
Generally, green jobs that offer the most pay are located in the private sector. These jobs are more competitive and often require coursework in both business and sustainable management. The good news is that the private sector is facing an increase in retirees just like the government sector, and they are hiring fast enough to fill them. The type of work ranges from more business-oriented management to creative positions perfect for students with degrees in the arts.
Green job candidates will have more success with backgrounds in both sustainability and business, though this is a requirement. It is just as important to spread the green message as it is to streamline production processes and find funding for campaigns. The environmentally conscious generation faces a growing number of job opportunities.
About the Author
Author Richard Barnes is an eco-friendly student taking classes for political management online.