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Racial diversity in environment professions

This ‘racial diversity in environment professions’ report builds upon the 2017 Policy Exchange report on racial and ethnic diversity in UK professions and previous follow-up research specifically focused on the environmental sustainability sector.

People working around a desk in an office

The research provides a snapshot of current racial diversity within environment professions and within the career pipeline. It also explores student perspectives on the attractiveness and barriers to the environment sector. ​ The report draws on datasets from the Office for National Statistics and the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in addition to a targeted student survey. ​

The research has been co-funded by SOS-UK, IEMA and NERC to aid a better sector understanding of racial diversity within the environment sector. ​

Key findings arising from this report are that:

  • ‘Environment professionals’ are one of the least racially diverse professions in the UK, with just 4.81% identifying as Black, Asian or from other minority ethnic groups, compared to 12.64% across all UK professions.​
  • Racial diversity amongst UK higher education subjects closely related to environment professions is notably lower when compared to the racial diversity seen across all subjects. Across all higher education subjects, students who identify as Black, Asian, Mixed or other, account for 26% of students.  When looking at subjects closely related to environmental careers this ranges from 14% for ‘Applied environmental sciences’ to 6% for ‘Biodiversity conservation’.​
  • Regardless of race/ethnicity, key motivations for pursuing a career in the environment sector were wanting to help tackle global environmental issues, such as climate change, and an interest in these issues. ​

Read the detailed findings by downloading the full report.


Racial diversity in environment professions - 2022