2014 IEMA practitioners' survey

17th March 2014

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Knowledge Centre ,
  • Ethics ,
  • Skills


Jim Hopwood

IEMA's seventh annual poll of its members finds high levels of job satisfaction and rising numbers of 'career changers'

The 2014 IEMA practitioners' survey takes place against a more optimistic economic outlook. According to the latest official data, unemployment is falling and the UK economy is growing. While there seems to have been little positive impact on pay levels across the labour market so far, the majority of environment professionals responding to the survey benefited from a salary increase in 2013.

Median annual pay for environment professionals ranges from £25,000 for a Graduate member up to £66,100 for a Fellow, though most survey respondents are positioned at the Associate membership level and can expect to earn an annual income of around £37,700.

The survey results indicate that many factors influence the level of pay an environment professional can command. In addition to IEMA membership level and experience in the field, qualifications and the sector in which members work also play a strong role. For instance, those based in private industry tend to enjoy the highest salaries, with members working in mining and quarrying earning the highest median annual salary, at £57,000. Demographic factors such as age and gender also have an impact on practitioners' pay levels.

A major positive finding is that, regardless of income, the majority of practitioners derive a great deal of job satisfaction from their work. Almost two-thirds of members are either satisfied or very satisfied in their role, with this contentment due mainly to the interesting and challenging nature of their job. A high proportion of practitioners consider themselves to be a "career changer", having started their working life in another industry or profession and later made the switch to an environment or sustainability role. This group of professionals are particularly happy in their work.


  • With an average annual pay packet totalling £43,025, IEMA members based in business and industry earn significantly more than their colleagues working in other parts of the economy.
  • Environment professionals working in the mining and quarrying sector enjoy the highest median annual salary, at £57,000, while those based in county councils tend to receive the lowest income, at £30,689.
  • There is a strong correlation between an individual's IEMA membership level and the size of income that he or she enjoys, with Fellows commanding the highest salaries, at £66,100.
  • IEMA members are a generally well-qualified group of professionals, with only a small minority (2.9%) holding no formal academic qualifications.
  • The majority of survey respondents have achieved a high level of status in their organisation, with almost two-thirds (62.3%) employed as a senior officer, project/middle manager or senior manager.
  • Practitioners' earnings are closely aligned to seniority, with more senior roles generally attracting higher earnings - promotion from project or middle manager to senior manager attracts a pay increase of around £11,000, according to the survey results.
  • There is a slight increase in the proportion of IEMA members receiving a pay increase compared with last year's poll. Almost six in 10 (58.9%) reporting that they were awarded a rise in 2013, compared with 56.8% in 2012.
  • For those IEMA members who received a pay award in 2013, the median annual increase to earnings was 3%.
  • Women make up more than one-third (35.8%) of the 2,120 IEMA members who responded to the 2014 online questionnaire.
  • The median annual earnings of male professionals is pegged at £41,200, compared with £35,000 for their female colleagues.
  • Members' most-cited primary area of work is now environment management. In the previous two surveys, health, safety and environment management was the most common area of work.
  • The 2014 results provide a strong indication of the multidisciplinary nature of members' work, with practitioners working across seven different areas on average.
  • A high proportion of practitioners (41.7%) polled consider themselves to be a "career changer", embarking on an environment career at a later stage of their working life.
  • Almost two-thirds of those surveyed (64.6%) remain in the same role in the same organisation, while 13.9% of practitioners are now in a more senior role in the same organisation.
  • The majority of environment professionals are happy in their work - more than two-thirds (70.1%) are either satisfied or very satisfied in their role.

Read the full survey results:

Watch a webinar on the results:

Following the completion of 2014 practitioners' survey, IEMA hosted a webinar discussing the trends seen in sectors that environment professionals are working in, salary levels, and the outlook for the environmental jobs market in 2014. Watch it online here.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

How much is too much?

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close