It often seems that there are bazillions of people out there looking for sustainability jobs. Looking, and rarely finding.
The reality is that supply (people looking for sustainability jobs) exceeds demand (positions available) in our industry. That's why many people are becoming entrepreneurs -- starting their own sustainability-related businesses.
Sustainability consulting is no exception -- and in fact it may be one of the areas where "solopreneurs" turn first. The barriers to entry are low (there are few standards that determine a "qualified" sustainability consultant; there is no expensive equipment to buy, no property to lease, etc.) And because it's a relatively new industry, there is a lot of opportunity for movement and room for growth.
In fact, our research shows that about between 60-70% of sustainability consultants currently practicing are doing so out on their own. (Either operating their own business, or acting as a freelancer.)
Of course, there are pros and cons to being in an industry where most of the service providers are entrepreneurs and freelancers. On the positive side, there is a huge wave of innovation and collaboration that is constantly happening. On the downside, it can be a bit like herding cats -- everyone has their own ideas, methodologies, engagement preferences, etc.
We're curious what you think -- what impact does entrepreneurship have on the sustainability consulting industry? Leave a comment, or join the conversation on Twitter.
Every year, we conduct a survey of currently-practicing sustainability consultants. The chart above shows some of the results, compiled from 2009-2011 survey responses. Interested in learning more about the state of the sustainability consulting industry? Check out our 4-part Sustainability Consulting Masterclass, available online and on-demand.