What the SEC’s climate disclosure rule could mean for students and job seekers


Recent media coverage of the SEC’s proposal on climate risk and emissions disclosure has focused on the impact for companies and their investors. But what about their talent pool – the growing cohort of students and job seekers? How could they be better prepared in this emerging job market?

To answer these questions, let’s first talk about the central problem that the SEC’s proposed rule is trying to solve.

This rule should change the current situation of voluntary disclosure of ESG information by companies listed in the United States and, at the same time, standardize the information disclosed. The central issues involved in the proposal: information on climate risks and corporate carbon emissions – main ESG topics of concern to capital. Therefore, this proposal should encourage investors to perform more effective ESG risk analyzes of companies, which can also be more effective.

It is becoming increasingly clear that jobs will rise in the market to meet the requirements of the SEC’s proposed rule.

Now it is becoming clearer that available jobs will increase in the market to meet the requirements of the proposed rule. Below are the top job categories that could see the biggest job increases in the short to medium term:

  • Internal corporate climate disclosure roles. This category of positions generally requires some hands-on experience in the industry, either through an internship or previous full-time work experience.
  • ESG and sustainable development consulting assignments. These jobs typically range from junior to experienced senior level positions, including specialist environmental and ESG consultancies (WSP and ERM) as well as the ESG consulting and advisory teams of large accounting firms or accounting firms. management consulting.
  • ESG investment roles. Most investment institutions are hiring for ESG investing or climate finance positions to build their capacity to assess climate risks to better structure their investment portfolios.
  • Roles of ESG rating agencies. As mandatory climate disclosure approaches, we may also see a big jump from ESG rating agencies, due to more and better data disclosure in the future. This category includes companies such as MSCI, ISS ESG, Sustainalytics and other regional ESG rating companies such as MioTech in Hong Kong and Mainland China.
  • Roles in climate risk data startups. Additionally, a new category of jobs is rapidly emerging in the ESG industry and gaining traction: climate risk data providers, such as Silicon Valley-based Jupiter Intelligence and Durham-based The Climate Service ( acquired by S&P Global in January).

Very exciting! But how can students and job seekers be better prepared for this emerging industry?

To answer this question, we can categorize these jobs according to their different functions below.

  • Climate risk assessment involves physical and transitional climate risk. This could be very technical and require PhD-level research skills to conduct an effective climate risk assessment. It would be a good choice for environment and climate students and job seekers.
  • Accounting for carbon emissions can also be quite technical, especially when it comes to Scope 3 emissions analysis or even Life Cycle Assessment, or LCA. Similarly, employers seeking these candidates would prefer a university education in environmental or sustainability accounting.
  • Disclosure of climate information Usually requires more hands-on experience compared to research or academic studies, so it could be suitable for all background students and job seekers as long as you have a passion for the field.
  • Other strategic roles, a broad category of positions, do not necessarily require in-depth technical skills and can touch on broad climate-related topics. These can be a good option for students and job seekers who are passionate about the climate and have work experience in strategic positions.
  • Climate-Related Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Companies are already hiring climate data scientists and similar positions to develop SaaS platforms. This category obviously requires technical skills in data science or software development but does not necessarily expect experience in the field of climate.

For students and job seekers interested in technical roles who want to better understand the details of the technical aspect of the proposed rule, it would be instructive to explore existing climate reporting methodologies and standards. , including the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), as well as paying attention to news sustainability accounting standards being developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) . As explained in the SEC’s proposal, the SEC may take advantage of some of the internationally accepted standards that exist or are to be published as technical guidance.

Although some uncertainties and ambiguities exist, the rule proposed by the SEC is undoubtedly already an important step for ESG and climate disclosure. For investors, this will help to better analyze the climate risk of their investment portfolios. For companies, this will create a good mechanism to assess material climate risks and ensure that all companies report climate information through a consistent process that uses trusted frameworks.

For students and job seekers, it offers even more opportunities and hopefully this market breakdown will help illuminate possible career paths.


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