Misleading Entry-Level Conservation Jobs

We recently got an email from a concerned user of our website which said: “I just wanted to voice a small concern or something that has irritated me a bit recently. You post entry level conservation jobs are often far removed from being ‘entry level’. A lot of these jobs require … anywhere from 3 years and up of prior related experience”.

“It has become extremely difficult in this sector to gain relevant experience … and to then tackle a sea of ‘entry level’ jobs that are in fact not entry level has become discouraging. I am so passionate about conservation, and like many others, will continue to fight to get a career in conservation, but there need to be less barriers or misuse of labeling jobs as something that they are not”.

“This is an unfortunate problem with the industry that hinders young scientists from moving forward, and it turns a lot of us away from reaching our career goals in conservation. I do love your website and how you help aspiring conservationists find their way, but I think that jobs need to be far more accessible for young scientists to be able to get a foot in the door”.

Why we like emails like this?

It’s an honest reflection of the struggles and frustrations faced by many of us in the early stages of our career. When we’re looking for that first paying role and facing a tough battle to get going in our conservation careers. Feedback like this helps us at Conservation Careers to be better, and work harder to get you hired more quickly.

We exchanged emails and both felt it would be beneficial to others in a similar situation to publish our response publicly. So here goes…

“A BIG thank you for your email. I really appreciate the feedback and I understand your frustration. We would like to shake up our job level categories”, said Dr Nick Askew – Director of Conservation Careers. “At the moment (like most job boards) we have entry level, mid and senior levels”.

“The problem is many ‘early-stage’ jobs get categorized as ‘entry level’ to encourage people to take a look, in case they have the skills and experience from different aspects of their work, education and  life to date, which would make them suitable to apply”.

“In our experience although many employers say ‘3 years’ experience’, or similar, they don’t always strictly enforce this. Graduates can get hired into positions with such requirements, and employers almost never get someone perfectly matched to their profiles”.  Compromise is common-place.

“In addition, there are very few roles where no experience at all is required. Understandably, an employer is always looking for some evidence that the person can do the role”.

“It’s also worth noting that things like Degrees, Masters, PhDs, Volunteering, Internships and seemingly unrelated work can and should count towards your experience”.

“This is especially true for transferable skills like project management, communications, team-work, planning, organisation, time management etc. You’re gaining experience all the time, and need to find ways to identify and articulate your best evidence to prospective employers”. This can be especially true for career switchers, who have years of experience behind them.

Goodbye Entry-Level Conservation Jobs

We hope this explains why we categorized Entry-Level conservation jobs as we did. However, we didn’t feel it went far enough and we needed to do something to help people understand the categories better.

As a result we’ve renamed our “Entry-Level” jobs to now be called “Early Years Conservation Jobs” and hope this is a better reflection of the types of roles you’ll find when searching through our thousands of conservation jobs published from across the globe each year on our site.

Struggling to find identify the right role which suits your skills, passions and interests, or not sure how to write a killer application and get hired? Why not let Conservation Careers help you by checking out our upcoming online course, or UK workshop?

Alternatively, you can download our FREE guide for conservation job-hunters and career-switchers. This guide is jam-packed with honest, accurate and useful advice for those seeking to conserve the environment through their work. It includes top career tips based on interviews with 342 professional conservationists from around the world with over 1,734 combined years of experience. If you’re hunting for a job, or looking to switch careers into conservation, it’s a must read.

Careers Advice, Top Tips