A high workforce demand and low supply of college grads in the environmental sector adds up to excellent job opportunities for those with expertise in food, agriculture and renewable natural resources.
A report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the gap between current job openings and the number of graduates in the food, agriculture, natural resources and environmental fields is widening. The study shows an anticipated shortage of more than 22,500 workers.
A recent resurgence of interest in sustainability, locally-sourced foods and food safety has turned agriculture into a trendy pick for college students. Yet schools still have a hard time getting enough students to meet industry demands.
A farming background is hardly a prerequisite for these areas of study. Only 10 percent of current students came with a traditional farm upbringing. And of those, only 10 percent seek that direction for their own careers once they complete their studies. Furthermore, jobs out in the field are only the tip of the iceberg.
Other job areas more on the business side, such a procurement, e-commerce, financial analysis, marketing, shipping and logistics offer high earning potential right away. Even jobs for those with a biology and chemistry background can be found in the industry, like water resource management and plant genetics.
With a bevy of opportunity and not enough students to fill the roles, now is a great time to take a look at school offerings and consider a career switch. Sustainability, etc., is becoming “cool” again, so get in there before the spots fill up and the jobs disappear.