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From recycling initiatives to renewable energy and installations of solar panels - there are many prongs to a career in natural resource management.
On a global scale, the forecast for environmental management services and products to 2020 is expected to double, reaching $2.74 trillion, half of which will be devoted to efficient energy use. Projected investment to 2030 is $630 billion, generating 20 million more environment jobs worldwide.
Those green jobs will range from environmental engineers and environmental consultants to green building architects and wind energy engineers, plumbers who install solar water heaters, indeed anyone involved with natural resources.
In this piece we review the role of environmental scientists whose work in the public and private sector may encompass research or investigation into pollutants or hazards that have a detrimental impact on the environment or people’s health; or collecting and analysing data from air samples or food, soil or water.
In the five years to 2011, environmental employment increased by just over 62%. This is indicative of the number of programs and initiatives spawned by what is the increasingly important environmental sector that goes well beyond environmental scientists to encompass anyone concerned in sustainable, environmental design, policy or technology.
More than 84% of environmental scientists are employed full-time, working an average 38-hour week, compared to the 41.3 hours averaged across other occupations. And according to the ABS EEBTUM survey of August 2011, gross weekly earnings for environmental scientists working full-time stood at $1,250 ($65,000 annually).
The average age of environmental scientists is 38 years, but almost one third (31.5%) are aged 45 or over and about 38.5% are female.
They are a well qualified group: around 75.6% of environmental consultants boast a bachelor or higher degree; 8.6% have a certificate III or IV and 6.1% an advanced diploma or diploma.
Each year 5.9% of environmental scientists quit their career, which indicates that as a vocational group they are relatively stable, given the average rate of movement across other occupations is more than double at 14.2%. Unsurprisingly, unemployment for environmental scientists is below average at just 1.4%.
The outlook for environmental scientists is definitely sunny with long term growth in environmental employment projected at a sizzling hot 93.7%.