Environmental managers are employed by government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and commercial enterprises across industries where environment, conservation and sustainability issues are hugely important.
Essentially, these guys are responsible for overseeing the implementation, management and maintenance of initiatives that are designed to address critical environmental issues and improve sustainability.
If you enter this profession, you’ll be responsible for designing, developing and implementing measures to promote the importance of protecting the environment and making sure that companies’ business operations are sustainable. Effectively, you’ll be in charge of all policy and procedures relating to recycling, waste disposal, pollution and conservation.
Furthermore, you’ll be leading environment-focused corporate social responsibility projects, tracking the progress of existing initiatives, building environmental awareness and providing relevant training to employees across all levels of the organisation.
Finally, you’ll be making sure that your client complies with environmental laws and regulations, maintaining detailed records of technical audits and environmental impact assessments, and writing reports for the appropriate regulatory authorities.
Salary & benefits
Environmental managers in the early stages of their careers can earn between £17,000 and £35,000 per annum, while senior professionals with lots of experience and managerial responsibilities can earn up to £90,000 a year.
Working hours are fairly standard, i.e. nine-to-five on a daily basis. However, some environmental consultants may work during the weekend from time to time.
Frequent travel is required for personnel involved in making field assessments or overseeing policy implementation across multiple locations.
Obtaining an undergraduate degree in any discipline will allow you to break into this line of work. However, studying an environment-related subject, such as ecology, conservation studies, environmental sciences or environmental engineering, will set you up nicely for a career in this area.
Furthermore, getting short-term work experience placements under your belt or gaining a relevant postgraduate qualification will give you an added advantage over other plucky applicants.
Training & progression
While most employers provide on-the-job training and formal in-house development sessions for entry-level environmental managers, you may be required to obtain professional credentials from organisations such as the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) and the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), in order to develop a long and successful career as an environmental manager.
Your career is likely to start by focusing on basic field work. However, as you progress, you will move into senior leadership roles with policy development and strategic management responsibilities.
In the private sector, the growing focus on sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a good indicator of the increasing demand for qualified and experienced environment managers.