Lane Cove National Park, NSW
Work in a huge diversity of areas is available to people with experience in diversity, ecology and field studies in biology. Consultants constitute the largest group of employers. Consultants seek staff to provide information on species present or likely to be present in specific regions or habitats, how specific activities will impact on organisms at sites, and possible restoration practices to rehabilitate degraded habitats. As well as collecting information, roles in assisting the collection of data, managing data analysis and provision of documents (paper and electronic) communicating information are supported in private industry. Those willing to establish their own consultancies can gain valuable experience working with consultants in the first instance.
Government bodies seek staff for maintenance and management of ecosystems, national parks and reserves and specific habitats. Herbaria, museums, botanic gardens and zoos seek staff willing to work with specific groups of organisms. Schools seek staff to teach biology as one part of the science curriculum.
Most companies and institutions advertise positions in local and national print and electronic media. If you are seeking employment, you are advised to regularly and obsessively check newspapers, and websites of the various (and everchanging) groups that promote employment. Most government agencies and larger companies advertise in the weekend papers.
Research positions are available and are highly competitive. State and federal government have research positions in various organisations. Universities and research institutes have specific roles in research. Funding for research can be obtained from government schemes, private companies and foundations. To support active research, these schemes require managers and advisors. Jobs in universities and research institutions are advertised in the newspapers on Wednesdays (Australian) and weekends. Details of the jobs also appear on the websites of the institutions.
Different specific attributes are required for each position. As a general rule, employment in ecology and the environment requires an Honours degree in a science or science related field. Understanding of biostatistics is commonly necessary in addition to the knowledge base of the field. Research positions require a PhD. More specific occupations require different types of training. Understanding and use of molecular techniques is becoming more common especially for positions in taxonomy and biodiversity.
Most students can expect to have many different jobs through their working life. Thus it is wise to plan to have solid general skills to which you add the specific information as you need it. This approach is called life long learning (see: http://www.lifelongearning.science.usyd.edu.au/index.html).
All graduates are expected to be able to find, summarise, contextualise and communicate information from diverse sources, and develop new approaches to existing problems. All graduates are expected to be able to use electronic resources, especially basic software, and to be able to learn new software. All graduates would be expected to understand and implement scientific methods in all areas of their work. All graduates would be expected to have experience of working in teams, supervising projects and managing staff.
We suggest all students seeking employment in these areas commence a file with evidence of their attributes in each of these areas. You will have to convince the employer to choose you. The better your file, the better your chances of being offered the job.