5 Key Skills Required for Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Careers

04 August 2018 by Sean Desouza
blog author

Whether you are looking to forge a career in the Environment, Health & Safety(EHS) profession, or you’ve been working in the industry for any part of your career, we recruit for a variety of opportunities across a diverse range of organisations.  

As recruitment and talent development specialists, we are often asked about the skill set that EHS employers are looking for. Having recruited in this space for nearly two decades, we’ve observed a prominent shift in the skillset required from EHS professionals.  

No longer can it be said that technical competence alone is paramount to a successful EHS career. On the contrary, the need for a complementary blend of both technical and non-technical skills is more crucial than ever before. 

In fact, we would suggest that employers are no longer seeking ‘the finished article.’ Rather, employers are now looking for candidates with enough self-awareness to know where their strengths lie, as well as the support they’ll need to ensure that any potentially limiting areas serve as opportunities rather than obstacles. 

With this in mind, we’d argue that the following five non-technical skills or traits are essential for tomorrow’s EHS professionals.


1. Curiosity


In the modern world of work, technical answers are available at the click of a button. This change brings about an exciting and necessary transition from knowing the right answers to knowing the right questions. Rather than guiding our peers towards the outcomes we desire, we need to humbly abandon our preconceptions and acknowledge that there are always going to be things we don’t know.  

By maintaining a thirst for knowledge and by constantly questioning, we open new avenues to understand how people think, feel and behave.


2. Creativity


It can feel uncomfortable, and sometimes even unnatural, to stray away from ‘the way we’ve always done things.’ By allowing yourself the time and the headspace to invite new, innovative ways of working into your organisation, you contribute to an environment within which creativity can thrive.

 Today’s EHS employers are seeking individuals who can identify opportunities to put rules and regulations aside and consider new ways of achieving the same desired outcomes.

3. Courage


As the HSE profession slowly breaks away from the comforts of tradition, today’s leaders are increasingly embracing the power of vulnerability and rather than avoiding failure, they are welcoming a culture of acceptance and learning.


Instead of conditioning tomorrow’s EHS professionals to know the right answers and to rely on technical know-how, EHS leaders are now looking for individuals who can collaborate and engage with key stakeholders in order to understand risks, especially when they are uncertain.


4. Resilience


The modern workplace is agile and ever-evolving. It is crucial that HSE professionals are able to capitalise on opportunities to adapt in the face of change and challenging circumstances. 

EHS leaders are creating a shift that requires individuals to bounce back and be resilient in the face of adversity. The ability to embrace change and tackle setbacks head-on will help individuals drive the EHS agenda forward. 


5. Growth-Mindset


Feedback is arguably one of the most valuable assets to the growth of any individual or organisation. That being said, human beings tend to shy away from unfavourable feedback. We condition ourselves to fixate on the potentially negative repercussions, rather than the potential for growth. 

EHS leaders need individuals who are flexible to change and who actively seek constructive feedback – regardless of how desirable or undesirable it may be – to improve wherever possible. There is much to be learned when things go ‘wrong’ but there is a great deal more to be learned when things go ‘right’.  

If you’re looking for a useful resource to help you build a career in the EHS profession or would like more insight into the skills that employers are looking for, visit our Career Advice hub to download a copy of our 'How to Start a Career in Health & Safety' Advice Guide

When you’re ready to take the next step, why not browse our latest EHS jobs? ​