2015 practitioners' survey: Diversity: Age, gender and pay

13th April 2015

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Charles Humphries

Diversity: Age, gender and pay

Demographic change, bringing with it the need to attract and retain an increasingly diverse workforce, will be a key consideration for all employers over the next 10 years, and the environment sector, with its focus on long-term sustainability, will be no exception.

Analysis of the 2015 IEMA practitioners’ survey results reveals a diverse workforce by age and gender, with the proportion of women taking part (37.9%) up slightly on that in the previous year (35.8%). The age profile of respondents shows that most (61.6%) are aged between 30 and 49, with only 3.5% younger than 25 and 11.3% between 25 and 29. The remaining 23.7% are 50 or older.

Last year it was revealed that the gender pay gap across the whole economy for full-time workers was the narrowest on record, with the median measure in April 2014 at 9.4% – down from 17.4% in 1997. For all workers (both full- and part-time) it had also reduced, to 19.1%. These headline figures disguise a myriad of variations by occupation, age and sector. Nationally, the gender pay gaps for professional (10.6%) and associate, professional and technical occupations (10.6%) are slightly wider than that for all full-time workers, while the gap for managers, directors and senior officials is significantly higher (15.9%).

Figure 9 Salary by gender

By age, full-time female workers in their 20s and 30s now earn slightly more at the median than their male counterparts, but the position is reversed once they are in their 40s and 50s, when the pay gap in favour of men is 13.6% and 18% respectively. The official measure of the gender pay gap is calculated using hourly earnings excluding overtime, whereas the IEMA findings are based on full-time annual salaries, so are unlikely to be affected by differences in working hours and are not directly comparable to the national statistics.

Figure 10 Salary by age and gender

The 2015 IEMA survey reveals the good news that the gap between men and women’s median annual earnings has narrowed to 12.5% on the latest findings, down from the 15.1% reported last year (see figure 11). As figure 9 shows, the median annual salary for male environment and sustainability practitioners is £40,000 compared with £35,000 for their female colleagues. Using the mean measure, which tends to better reflect the fact that there will usually be more male earners at the top of the earnings spectrum, the differential widens to 18.3%, men earning £45,211 on average and women £36,938.

Some interesting findings on age are shown in figure 10. For 25- to 29-year-olds, where an exact 50/50 split of male and female practitioners responded to the 2015 IEMA survey, there is a difference in median pay in favour of women of 6.9%, while for workers in their late 30s there is no discernible gender pay gap. However, the findings suggest large gender pay gaps kick in later in women’s careers. For the 50-54 age group, there is a 24.5% difference between men and women’s pay in favour of male practitioners.

Figure 11 The gender pay gap in the 2012-15 surveys

















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Read the full 2015 pracitioners’ survey results:


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