“Employee engagement goes up greatly when employees are working with something they find meaningful.” These are the words of the Kedge Business School’s associate professor Ante Glavas. A wealth of research is emerging indicating that workers are not only happier, but more productive, when they feel like they are doing some good in the world.
Almost nine in 10 environmental and sustainability professionals who have moved into the sector reported high levels of job satisfaction in the recent Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) Practitioner Survey. This backs up the theory that working for positive change can improve well-being.
The survey also found that the sustainability sector is providing a strong pull to workers in other industries, with 42 per cent of current employees calling themselves “career changers”.
Tim Balcon, CEO of IEMA, says: “Environment and sustainability roles are rewarding careers – with high job satisfaction levels. With the economy becoming increasingly dependent on environment and sustainability skills, it’s great to see that many who boast these skills are enjoying their roles to such a high level. The new skills and people that are entering the profession have a vital role to play in enhancing and supporting business action in this area.”
IEMA’s research shows that there is a skills gap in sustainability, so the fact that people are seeking out more fulfilling roles working with the environment is timely. The burden placed on our environment by the growing population and global economy can be alleviated by an increase of expert individuals in these sectors. More people with the relevant skills is, according to IEMA, “key to turning these challenges into opportunities”.
It is also good news that pay levels in the industry are continuing to rise, making working with the environment more attractive.
Balcon added: “Environment and sustainability roles are clearly becoming the career change of choice. With growing demands on business due to resource scarcity and climate change, and a career built upon high levels of satisfaction and rewarding pay and training, environment and sustainability is clearly the ‘go-to profession’”.
Another study suggested that workers with a high level of connectivity to nature seem to pleased with their lot. Gardeners and florists were top of the happiness list in a City and Guilds survey, with 87 per cent reporting high levels of satisfaction with their work.
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