The market for environmental services is expanding rapidly. This expansion is due to the evolution of legislation and public policies as well as to the appearance of new problems that constantly give rise to new needs.
In Belgium, the Marshall Plan 2.vert has taken the measure of the need for environmental professionals. This plan deploys general measures to directly promote green jobs and the green economy (cleantech and green sectors), which implies hiring competent environmental professionals. These measures are complemented by specific awareness-raising measures for the public concerned: for example, awareness of industrial ecology, certain environmental problems (polluted soils), certain industrial sectors (energy), the reorganization of industrial activities (eco-zoning) or the management of local authorities (support for green projects in municipalities). These different measures require significant human resources and indirectly create green jobs.
What types of jobs?
Specialized and generalist managers
The market for environmental jobs is experiencing a twofold trend: on the one hand, there is an urgent need for specialized managers in all environmental sectors and, on the other hand, there is a need for professionals with the profile of environmental generalists, capable of coordinating complex projects.
The skills required to work in the environmental sector are varied and transversal. The environmental professional therefore has a solid multidisciplinary scientific and technical foundation. Within the framework of a project or a case study, he or she addresses a variety of issues (from pollutant emissions to energy and biodiversity, for example), masters environmental legislation, improves processes and practices, communicates with the public, negotiates with stakeholders, leads a team, and demonstrates critical thinking and creativity in the face of constantly evolving problems. The pedagogical approach developed by the Department of Environmental Sciences and Management allows students to acquire all these skills.
The term "ecologist" refers to nature professions, the management of living organisms and the conservation of natural heritage. France has more than 60,000 jobs in this field and its needs are at least as great for the development of the Trame verte et bleue (in Belgium Maillage vert et bleu), which should be extended via ecological coherence schemes throughout the country in the years to come. New needs are also generated by the application of the European Water Framework Directive and its principle of ecological quality of waterways.
Environmental consulting jobs are also booming, according to the federations of consultants and design offices. In the public sector, needs are generated by regional and local sustainable development plans and Agenda 21. Functions are emerging, such as mobility project manager or environmental advisor for municipalities and local authorities. In these sectors, there is not only a need for professionals in environmental diagnosis and decision support, but also a need for mediators, facilitators and public relations officers.
The directory of environmental jobs allows you to search and easily find jobs that correspond to your training.
The Service d'Information sur les Etudes et les Professions (SIEP) offers a tool dedicated to jobs that includes descriptions of environmental jobs and the training courses that give access to them.
The French site Ecometiers offers numerous job descriptions classified by field, by level of training and by key words.
The French website Studyrama provides information and job offers on all environmental and sustainable development jobs.