2013 IEMA practitioners' survey

25th March 2013


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IEMA's sixth annual practitioners' survey finds that well over half of members secured a pay increase in 2012 and two-thirds say they are happy at work

The economic climate has not improved much since the onset of recession in 2007–08, and this year’s salary survey of IEMA members was conducted against a backdrop of continuing pay restraint and below-inflation pay rises for most workers in the UK.

Despite the persisting poor economic conditions, the majority of environment professionals responding to the poll benefited from a salary uplift in 2012, with the 4% average increase easily matching the rise in the cost of living over the year.

The survey findings reveal that the median annual salary for an IEMA member is £35,000. An Associate member can expect to earn this level of income but for Full members a salary of £45,000 is more typical. Earnings also rise significantly according to factors such as qualifications, age and industrial sector. Practitioners working in the mining and quarrying sector typically earn the highest wages, for example.

The majority of environment professionals are satisfied in their roles for a wide and varied range of organisational issues, aside from pay. A common theme that motivates IEMA members is the feeling that they are “making a difference” and contributing to wider environmental goals that extend beyond their day-to-day job.

This sense of purpose and commitment to sustainability issues must partly explain the fact that nearly half of respondents class themselves as “career changers”, and were motivated to switch to a career focused on the environment later in their working lives.

The 2013 IEMA survey drew 2,281 responses from UK practitioners. These environment managers, consultants and researchers provided pay and conditions data based on their 2012 earnings (for more details of the sample click here).


  • At £62,000, environment professionals working in the mining and quarrying sector can expect to earn by far the highest annual earnings.
  • There is a strong, positive relationship between an individual’s income from employment and their IEMA membership level.
  • Practitioners working for management consultancies tend to earn significantly more than those working for a consultancy focused exclusively on environment issues – £48,000 per annum compared with £31,000.
  • Environment professionals with the highest-level qualifications do not necessarily earn the most, although at £45,000 the small proportion of survey respondents with a PhD enjoy relatively high salaries.
  • There is a typical pay gap of 15.3% between men’s and women’s earnings, although this partly reflects the different age profiles of respondents.
  • Well over half (56.9%) of IEMA members secured a pay increase in 2012.
  • Two-thirds (66.2%) of environment professionals are happy at work, with around the same proportion having experienced a change in the scope, variety and quantity of their workload in 2012.
  • Being provided with a mobile phone or “personal digital assistant” (PDA) and having the opportunity to join a contributory pension scheme are the two most common benefits available to IEMA members.
  • More than 90% of environment practitioners undertook some form of professional training in 2012; in about one-third of cases this was IEMA-approved training.
  • The most common way environment professionals keep their knowledge and skills up to date is by attending in-house training events – 43.2% of respondents.
  • Just under half (44.7%) of survey participants report that they had switched to a career focused on the environment at a later stage of their working lives.

Read the full survey results:

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