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Guide to Careers for Global Sustainable Development

Careers and Skills

Student Careers and Skills exists to help all Warwick students and graduates with their career planning and development. You do not need any ideas about a future career in order to speak to Careers and Skills. Equally, if you have more specific ideas, they can provide tailored advice. You can make an appointment any time.

Explore Your Future - Getting Started

Your Global Sustainable Development degree is unique both in content and the practical skills you acquire. This page is designed to help you get started with your search for a career and to help you fulfil your aspirations. If you have no firm ideas about your future, that isn't a problem. Here is a short list of potential job sectors you may find of interest as a GSD student:

  • Sustainability - green energy; environmental consultancy; conservation; sustainable transport; sustainable fashion; food and beverage industry; big businesses and banking; marketing; creative design and innovation; start ups; research and academia
  • International Development - Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), charities, and Think Tanks often employ fundraising officers, project managers, logistics, communications and PR, researchers, caseworkers, and overseas fieldwork positions.
  • Social Justice and Humanitarian Aid - NGOs, charities, Think Tanks, and pressure groups are major employers in this sector. Key areas include law, advocacy, campaigning, policy specialists, engineers, marketing, communications and PR, caseworkers, administration, overseas fieldwork, journalism and media.
  • Government and Politics - Civil Service (the Treasury, Foreign Office and Department for International Development run Graduate Schemes, alongside the wider Civil Service Graduate Scheme), Think Tanks, local government, political risk, journalism and media, academia and research.
  • Supranational Institutions - United Nations, European Union, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organisations, Commonwealth Secretariat.
  • Health Care and Psychology - pharmaceuticals, research and academia, behavioural economics, marketing, sustainability innovations in NHS.

This list is far from comprehensive. You may also want to bear in mind that as the world's economy, climate, and political systems change, so too will the jobs associated with it. If you want to start the job search for yourself, click here.

Six Things to Consider

1 Ask Yourself Questions

Before you make any commitments, think about what you want to get out of both university and your future career. What motivates you? Helping people, getting to the top of a career ladder, travelling abroad? What are your values? Creating a sustainable future, rebalancing inequality, being close to friends and family? What experience do you currently have? Do you know what skills you gained from that experience? Do you want a graduate job immediately, or to take time to travel or pursue further study? If you're not sure where to start, start with questions. See more.

2 Volunteering

Careers relating to GSD are highly competitive. A volunteering position shows your dedication to a cause. Most job descriptions specifically ask for relatable experience, and volunteering is a fantastic way to demonstrate this. You can start with Warwick Volunteers any time. Another option is to put yourself out there and contact an organisation independently and ask to volunteer with them. Above all, think hard about what skills you have gained from volunteering (leadership, resilience, punctuality). Visit the Opportunities at Warwick page and Charity Jobs (Volunteering).

3 Work Experience

Employers need to know you can perform in a professional environment. Fortunately, work experience is a broad category, but you need to be proactive to get experience. This could constitute: part-time work alongside your studies; an internship; work placement as part of your degree; society executive position; temporary work at summer schools. No experience is a bad experience, but rather all experiences help you decide what you do and don't like to do! Find out more about work experience bursaries.

4 Further Study?

Do I need a postgraduate qualification to pursue a career relating to GSD? This is a popular and important question. There are a wide variety of jobs in the sectors listed above available to graduates, especially if you have volunteering and work experience. An internship or graduate scheme are other options. However, some organisations (especially international NGOs and supranational institutions) may only consider postgraduate candidates. With a PG qualification, you could also open the door to academia and teaching. See more.

5 Skills and Strengths

Know your strengths and know your weaknesses. As a GSD student, you gain a broad skill set (presenting, communicating, researching) as well as tangible skills from your Certificates. As more and more people gain university degrees, you are entering an increasingly competitive job market where the worth of your degree may not simply speak for itself. The solution is to be able to evaluate and convey the skills you have gained from your studies and other university experiences. To help with this, there are dedicated Skills Service workshops for you to sign up to alongside advice online.

6 Hidden Job Market

Roughly 70% of jobs are never advertised on the open market. For those interested in charities, NGOs, think tanks, small/medium sized enterprises, it is essential to understand that you may be coming up against the hidden job market. Take all this into account when searching for jobs, and don't be disheartened if you don't find exactly the job you want initially. Advertising is expensive, and internal recruitment is easier for employers. The answer may well be to take on a volunteer or intern position and work your way up. Establish contacts, grow your reputation, build networks, and show your worth to an organisation.

Fantastic Jobs and Where To Find Them

Don't be put off if you find a job that you are interested in but do not feel entirely qualified for. This is part of the process of evaluating your current skill set, and working out a strategy for personal development. A final helpful tip is to search "intern" or "graduate" into the websites below, or filter jobs by salary (positions paying over £23-25,000 typically need employment experience!).


Social Justice and Human Rights