The Climate-Driven Career: How to Get Started

Employers across every industry and every sector now recognize that in order to attract top talent, they need to lead on climate, justice and equity. Young professionals want their careers to do more than just make money. They want to make the world a better place. They are backing up their passion with skills and experience and are seeking employers and roles that allow them to use their talents to live out their values and make an impact.

And when it comes to sustainable careers, consider this:

  • According to NetImpact, “demand for jobs in energy and clean technology remains higher than supply,” and “Environmental sustainability influences every job in every sector in one way or another. While people often focus on dedicated sustainability jobs, some of the biggest opportunities lie in more conventional roles, where ‘business as usual’ is the norm.”
  • Clean energy jobs are less volatile, and jobs in energy efficiency have historically been stable as well.
  • When it comes to social entrepreneurship, which offers more opportunities for younger leaders, most enterprises are monetarily stable despite the COVID-19 pandemic. E.g., 52% of social enterprises grew gross revenue in the last 12 months.

As a young professional, YOU have the potential and the leverage to raise the private sector’s ambition on climate change.

At EDF, we are helping young people do just that through Climate Corps®, an innovative fellowship program that trains and empowers graduate students to help companies and organizations reduce their environmental footprint. To date we have embedded over 1,100 fellows across the private and public sectors, to help over 520 host organizations meet their climate and energy goals.

We pride ourselves on being both pragmatic and solutions-driven. To that end, we’re working with business leaders from technology to transportation to food — and everywhere in between – to accelerate climate action, drive investment in solutions, and make sustainability the new normal.

And today, employees and future employees are critical to building a clean energy economy: the workers, managers, directors, VPs and C-suite execs who are actually doing the work.

That’s why we also offer tools and resources to help you raise the private sector’s ambition on climate.

Risks & Rewards: Purpose-driven careers pay off

According to Yesh Pavlik Slenk, manager of the Climate Corps alumni network and host of the new Degrees podcast, “the biggest risk of taking on a purpose-driven career is not knowing when you are working and when you are playing. Purpose-driven careers can have tough days, but when you’re devoting your talents to making the world a better place for others… for the planet… you will never feel like you’re wasting your time or your talent. That is the biggest reward.”

Some of her other advice to get started in a climate career:

  1. Be open-minded: ANY career can play a role to make the kind of impact you want, no matter what “hat” you wear.
  2. Wherever you land, find your “tribe” to keep your passion to save the planet at the top of your daily agenda.
  3. When you find and foster your passion and your purpose, you can always find ways to make an impact.