2013 survey sample

25th March 2013

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Details of the environment professionals polled for IEMA's 2013 practitioners' survey

The 2013 practitioners’ survey was conducted using an online questionnaire between 18 December 2012 and 10 January 2013. Student members were excluded from the invitation to participate because the research aims to analyse the situation of environment professionals working in the UK rather than those still studying or working overseas.

Respondents to the survey were asked to provide details of their 2012 salaries plus any extra earnings, such as bonuses, overtime and commission payments. These have been combined in most analyses to provide a comparison of total annual income from employment.

Where possible, the tables show both the mean and median figures for the earnings data, but where space allows only one figure the median has been used (the midpoint in the range of figures).

Pay statisticians prefer the median because it reduces the influence of a few very high or very low figures in a sample, which can distort the average.

There were 2,281 individual responses, a 16.7% response rate – a slight reduction on the 19.2% responding in 2012. For the salary analysis, those who were unemployed or retired were removed from the sample, along with those who had not provided data on their earnings or those not based in the UK. After this filtering the sample size for salary analysis was 1,701.

When compared with the profile of IEMA’s UK membership, members taking part in this year’s survey are a fair reflection of the wider membership. Full and Associate members are marginally over-represented in the 2013 sample – 13.2% and 67.5% respectively, compared with 6.6% and 64.2% of the actual IEMA UK membership. Fellows too are marginally over-represented, comprising 0.3% of the UK membership and 0.9% of the salary base. Conversely, Affiliate members are slightly under-represented, accounting for 22% of UK membership, but just 14% of the salary base.

Last year’s survey identified a change in the employment status of the IEMA members taking part. Since 2005, the data have shown a steady decline in the proportion of self-employed members, but the 2012 poll revealed a sharp reversal of this trend, with an increase in self-employment from 5.6% in 2010 to 7.9% in 2011. This upwards trajectory continues in this year’s survey, with the proportion of members reporting that they were self-employed during 2012 increasing to 8.5%.

The rise in self-employment has been a feature of the UK labour market since the onset of recession in 2007–08 and the fall in the number of available jobs. Part-time working has also been increasing.

Respondents were asked to indicate their primary area of environmental work, as shown in figure 1. The five most common areas were identical to those indicated in the 2012 and 2011 surveys, with more than one-third (37.4%) of all respondents (2,281) working in either health, safety and environment or environment management roles.

In terms of the broad sectors where IEMA members are based, those working in private industry were the biggest group, comprising 48.8% of the sample. Practitioners employed in environmental consultancies formed the next largest group, at 30.2%, followed by those in the public sector (14.1%), and education or academia (4%).

Most IEMA members work for large employers, with 70% based in organisations with more than 250 employees compared with 12.5% who work for medium-sized organisations (between 50 and 250 staff). A further 6.6% work for small organisations (11–50 employees), 6.4% for micro organisations (10 employees or fewer), while 4.6% are sole traders.

In nearly two-thirds of cases (63.5%), IEMA represents respondents’ main professional membership. When asked about additional professional status, 12.5% report being Chartered environmentalists (seven in 10 of these registered through IEMA), 12.1% said they were auditors and 2% practitioners in environmental impact assessment.

Read the full 2013 pracitioner survey results:


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