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The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) is a charitable organisation, which promotes and raises public awareness of environmental science by supporting professional scientists and academics working in this crucial arena. Its membership represents a very broad spectrum of practices in the environmental field. As a seminal environmental sciences organisation, founded in 1971, the Institution is consulted by the British Government and other interested parties on environmental issues. The Institution has strong ties with Higher Education and promotes and supports environmental sciences and sustainable development in universities and colleges both nationally and internationally.



  • What type of work is current in this sector?
  • Which current projects and jobs are underway?
  • What will the sector look like in 5-10 years?

Agriculture and Soil ScienceAir Quality and Odour ControlCorporate Social ResponsibilityDrinking Water Quality and Wastewater ManagementEco ArtEcoTourismEnergyEnvironmental ActivismEnvironmental EducationEnvironmental HealthEnvironmental Impact Assessment and AuditingEnvironmental JournalismEnvironmental LawEnvironmental PolicyEnvironmental RiskEthical MarketingFisheriesWildlifeFlood Defence and Coastal Erosion Risk EngineeringForestryGeologyLandscapeWaterwaysGeographical Information Systems (GIS) and MappingMarine ConservationNature Conservation and BiodiversityPipeline NetworksRegenerationSub Surface EnvironmentSustainable DevelopmentTransport & LogisticsWaste ManagementWater Quality and Pollution ControlWater Resource Management


The environmental sector in the UK employs over 400,000 people in 17,000 companies and has an annual turnover of £25 billion – roughly the same as the pharmaceuticals and aerospace sectors. In addition 500,000 volunteer workers support environmental and land-based organisations. With the growing interest of the general public and regulators in environmental matters the sector will continue to grow rapidly.There are a million people working for the food chain and rural sectors, which use about 80 percent of the UK’s total landmass.


Scientific method oAsk a Question oDo Background Research oConstruct a Hypothesis oTest Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment Select site to be sampled and sampling methodsWithin site and between site variability - want to minimise formeroAnalyse Your Data and Draw a Conclusion oCommunicate Your ResultsOften multidisciplinary teams are working together.


Air Quality ManagerSalaryGraduate: £18,000 - £25,000Job ProfileAir quality managers monitor, analyse, interpret and regulate air pollutant concentrations. Monitoring data can be used to validate pollution modelling, to test scenarios and to make informed policy decisions. Air quality managers visit businesses and factories to ensure that pollution laws are being followed, respond to complaints and are sometimes called to assess possible emission risks when a new manufacturer is ready to begin operations. After an emergency, such as a chemical explosion or a fuel leak, air quality managers also assess air quality damage.


Biological Field SurveyorSalaryGraduate: £18,000 - £27,000Job ProfileBiological field surveyors conduct and analyse scientific surveys of natural habitats, identifying, recording and monitoring plant and animal species. Surveys are commissioned by government, statutory bodies, private sector firms, voluntary organisations and pressure groups. Their purpose is to help clarify how habitats and species function, assist with conservation, assess the environmental impact of industry, farming and construction or changes in land use and monitor the impact of climate change on wildlife. Much of their work supports Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs) and compliance with environmental legislation


Energy Efficiency OfficerSalaryGraduate: £16,000 - £19,000Job ProfileThe overall aim of an energy efficiency officer is to assist the UK in meeting its environmental commitments by improving the energy efficiency of commercial businesses and domestic properties. This is achieved by applying practical solutions and strategic thinking to energy saving. It also requires profile-raising of energy conservation and renewable energy options within an organisation or community.


OceanographerSalaryGraduate (MSc): £17,000 - £19,000Graduate (PhD): £19,000 - £21,000Job ProfileOceanographers study the sea, the sea floor, marine life, ocean currents, the physical and chemical composition of the water and the atmosphere. They help solve problems related to mineral exploitation, shipping, fisheries, coastal construction, pollution, weather prediction and climate change. The work will draw heavily on mathematics and engineering disciplines and often work in multi-disciplined teams.


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist SalaryGraduate: £17,000 - £20,000Job ProfileUsing advanced computer software and 3-D modeling techniques, GIS specialists integrate topographical, geographic, cartograhic, technological, social and economic data. Their detailed maps, charts, and graphs are generated and analysed to identify environmental issues of interest to government agencies, environmental groups or corporations.They might usesatellite photos, lasers, cameras, thermal scanners, and other remote sensing devices to create databases of information about  population density, political boundaries, land use, transportation networks, the location of sewer lines, or potential forest-fire areas and display one or more of them on automated maps.


The environment has become a global political issue, with climate change affecting our water supplies, health, ecosystems and economies. But the environment is not only of social and economic importance; it provides employment in safeguarding our environmental assets and securing a sustainable future.“The potential for innovation, scientific discovery and business investment and growth is enormous…the very act of solving climate change can unleash a new and benign commercial force to take the action forward, providing jobs, technology spin-offs and new business opportunities, as well as protecting the world we live in.”Tony Blair


The Future A bigger industry. Driven by tighter environmental regulation, increased development and scarce natural resources, the UK market for environmental industries is likely to grow to £34 billion in 2010 and on to £46 billion by 2015. The global market in environmental goods and services is expected to rise from £278 billion to £410 billion by 2015. And the International Energy Agency predicts that £8 trillion of investment in new energy sources will be required over the next 15 years.


The Future More multidisciplinary teams.More environmental scientists in general industries.Developments in technology eg more use of satellites, constantly improving techniques for searching the oceans, photography.Environmental professionals increasingly need to be knowledgeable about and competent in sustainable development.


There are many opportunities, challenges and rewards for people who pursue a career in the environment. The sector has a myriad of appointments available, and although you are unlikely to become a millionaire, job satisfaction can be immense.  http://www.environmentalcareers.org.uk/careers/