Employment Trends

External Resources
Employment Trends

Job Search Resources
External Funding Sources

Monitoring general market and environmental trends should be an important part of a life-long career development plan. Being connected with the outside world and understanding the big picture can help you stay abreast with the times and maintain a marketable and useful portfolio of skills. Employers are thrilled when employees are in tune with environmental scanning and can incorporate their broad environmental perspective into the day-to-day decision making and strategic planning process.

While environmental trend information can be useful for identifying the jobs with the highest projected demand, it is important to remember that with all fields, and especially the environmental field, change is constant. A career that exists today may not be around tomorrow or will require an entirely different set of skills. Hot careers are like hot stocks. By the time you realize the career is hot, it is already starting to cool down.

The Career Development Program recommends that job seekers use environmental trend information to identify and develop a set of transferable skills needed to excel in a wide variety of careers within the environmental field over a period of time—skills that will last a life-time. Many of these skills are listed below under Transferable Skills. By choosing to attend the Bren School’s interdisciplinary program, you have already begun this preparation.

The environmental marketplace faces a shortage of people who can weave together elements from numerous disciplines and develop workable integrated solutions to highly complex environmental challenges. Bren School graduates will be in demand throughout the world in many organizations, including corporations, consulting firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, universities, and research companies.

Once you have a strong set of transferable skills, the Career Development Program also recommend that you develop a specialization to make you more marketable in the short run. Combining your broad Bren School experience with the following additional specialized experiences should prepare you for a very successful job search.

  • Specialized academic courses
  • Internships in your area of interest
  • Seminars and workshops related to your field
  • Conferences
  • Professional associations
  • Related work experience
  • Group project experience

To help you identify the transferable skills that will be useful in the environmental field in the coming years, the Career Development Program has provided information collected from employers on what professional skills/qualities they consider most important now and in the future.


Written and Oral Communication

    • Strong public speaking skills—without strong speaking skills, the technical message gets lost
    • Strong writing skills—ability to tell a story and write clearly and quickly
    • Capable of communicating technical information to non-technical people
    • Ability to write proposals and meet tight deadlines
    • Interest in and facility at networking with others in the field
    • Capacity to deal with difficult people in a tactful and calm manner

Team Work

    • Ability to work with many different types of people
    • Good understanding of group dynamics
    • Skill at leading groups
    • Proven record of working successfully in groups

People Skills

    • Strong customer service skills—able to work with internal and external customers
    • Aptitude for independent work as well as work done in groups
    • Ability to deal with many different types of people and to successfully handle hostile people
    • Aptitude for developing strong working relationships with others

Computer Skills

    • Solid computer skills—depth of skills depends on position (Microsoft Package)
    • Strong computer skills for data analysis and presentation of results
    • Statistical Programming
    • Demand for hot technical skills—GIS, Remote Sensing
    • Interest in technology and ability to quickly master new programs


    • Excellent project management skills—able to take on large projects and get the job done on time and within budget
    • Strong leadership abilities
    • Capable of getting things done, tactfully influencing people, and motivating and inspiring others
    • Ability to manage people, things, and data
    • Good working knowledge of financial management—comfortable working with budgets
    • Tendency to see the big picture and skilled at strategic planning

Integration Skills

    • Talent for understanding others’ perspectives and complex problems
    • Skilled at using both soft (people skills) and hard skills (technical skills)
    • Capacity to pull from many different areas and arrive at quality solutions

Negotiation Skills

    • Ability to influence others
    • Ability to approach conflict with a win-win standpoint
    • Willingness to listen and understand others’ perspectives

Decision Making Skills

    • Capable of making decisions in a complex world
    • Ability to make quality decisions with incomplete information
    • Skilled at conducting cost-benefit analysis—able to assess the situation, determine the risks, analyze the options, and make quality, long-term decisions

Resource Skills

    • Knowledge of where to go for information
    • Good network of contacts and resources
    • Strong research skills

Technical Skills/Training

    • Microsoft Package
    • Hazardous Waste Certification and Wetland Delineation work
    • Understanding of the consulting field
    • Education and training on environmental regulations
    • Marketing skills
    • Grant writing ability—broad perspective
    • Managing a budget
    • Field work preparation (sampling)—understanding of techniques and equipment
    • Presentation and writing skills

Advancement Skills

    • Employers want people who will progress—who have potential to exceed
    • Employers want people who have practical experience
    • Employers want people who show a commitment to the field
    • Employers are attracted to students who come out of strong programs
    • Employers like people they know and who they have seen perform
    • Employers are attracted to people who interview well and appear polished
    • Employers like people who seem to fit into their environment