Careers in the environment in Australia: surveying environmental jobs

Ian Thomas, Ruth Lane, Leonardo Ribon-Tobon, Charley May

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    Internationally, commentators have identified a growing demand for environmental expertise. Matching this has been an expansion in the range of environmental careers available to workers: from environment protection and bio-physical areas, to local government operations, environmental auditing, assessment, and management. However, in Australia there is no overall picture of the types of jobs graduates in this sector have undertaken, which has limited the advice that can be given about environmental careers. To redress this situation a survey was conducted with 600 respondents working in the environment professions in Australia. The results identified a wide range of professional areas; these are grouped into 12 subcategories for three main environmental employment sectors: Environmental protection (19% of respondents), Conservation and preservation of natural resources (26%), Environmental Sustainability (55%). Respondents mainly had a bachelor-level degree; however, a substantial proportion had an honours degree or postgraduate qualification. Respondents strongly recommended undertaking work experience to acquire key general skills that they identified as important for working in the environment sector. A related suggestion was for tertiary environmental courses to have a practical focus that produces ‘work-ready’ students. Comparison with the situations in the UK, Canada and the USA and are also offered regarding the results and trends, and suggestions for further research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-117
    Number of pages21
    JournalEnvironmental Education Research
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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