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Sustainability specialists are concerned with environmental impacts, and also the longevity of any sustainability schemes across the lifespan of a project until its end of life.


Average salaries are in the region of £35,000.00 to £50,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

Sustainability Specialists are concerned with environmental impacts, and also the longevity of any sustainability schemes across the lifespan of a project until its end of life.

What they do

Sustainability specialists often work in a consultancy role, working alongside other departments to ensure best practice is utilised across every area of design and construction.

As a Sustainability Specialist, you would have a focus on safeguarding efficiency at the best value, to enhance the wellbeing of the end-users. A focus on low-carbon engineering is becoming increasingly important, and an interest in developing technologies benefits Sustainability Specialists.

Typical tasks include: 

  • Liaising with engineers and designers to develop a sustainability plan
  • Assessing the likelihood of achieving Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ( LEED) ratings
  • Identifying any sustainability risks and highlighting opportunities to reduce them
  • Preparing sustainability assessment reports
  • Recommending strategies for improvement
  • Advising on low and zero-carbon technology
  • Extensive travel to visit different sites
  • Overseeing meetings

Hours & Salary:

  • Typically, Sustainability Specialists work around 40 hours a week, usually between 9am and 6pm.
  • It is uncommon for overnight or weekend work to apply but could in exceptional circumstances.
  • Newly trained Sustainability Specialists can earn in the region of £25,000£35,000.
  • Trained with experience Sustainability Specialists can earn in the region of £35,000£50,000.
  • Senior, chartered or master Sustainability Specialists can earn in the region of £50,000£60,000.
  • Salaries and career options improve with chartered status. 
  • Salaries typically range depending on location and level of responsibility.

Learn more about construction careers – and some of the misconceptions surrounding them – with our Mythbusters.

You can also take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

Angus A G Berry is a group sustainability graduate at Mott MacDonald.

What does your role involve?

My role involves supporting the global head of sustainability. I work to drive young professionals to embrace sustainability through the Young Professional Excellence Sustainability Network.

What do you like about your job?

I like that the role allows me to cut across traditional business silos and interact with a number of stakeholders. I am working alongside group practice managers and the head of sustainability to drive a concept and business strategy that I am personally passionate about.

What’s your working day like?

My working day involves interacting with people from across the company. I am in contact with managers, strategists and young graduates. I work on a number of projects at the same time – from promoting sustainable projects to working on new business initiatives.

What skills do you need in your job?

Not coming from an engineering background, I have had to learn to communicate the benefits of working in a sustainable way in a language that everyone in the business can understand.

What was your background before starting this role?

Before joining Mott MacDonald I was completed a Masters Degree in Environmental History at the University of St Andrews, and a BA Degree in History from the University of Sussex.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

I believe that a career in sustainability allows me to pursue projects and paths concerning social and environmental justice. In 10 years’ time I hope to be able to say that I have made a difference and that I can continue to make a difference.

A bit of advice for anyone thinking about a career in construction?

For those seeking to work on the sustainable side of construction I would advise that you have a strong personal commitment to delivering change. Without a strong desire to see change you could easily lose heart in your ambitions. 

Qualifications & Training

Most positions will require a BSc Honours Degree in surveying, engineering or construction in England; the equivalent L6 NVQ / HNC in Wales, or the Scottish equivalent. For a senior position a Masters Degree in a related subject could be needed, or chartered status with a relevant body.

However, experience is often very important too, so entrants with other qualifications might be considered; for example, extensive experience with modelling software is particularly desirable, as is additional training in sustainability, such as an Accredited Level 5 Energy Assessor qualification.

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy?

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Indeed

Glassdoor Jobs

The number of job vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted

 

Career trends and forecasts

16,240 additional staff needed

According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, the UK construction industry will need an additional 16,240 Construction Professionals and Technical staff (which includes Sustainability Specialists), every year between 2017 - 2021.  The majority of this demand will be in Scotland followed by a fairly even spread across North East, East England, Wales, Northern Ireland and West Midlands.

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