2015 practitioners' survey: Salaries by academic qualification

10th April 2015


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Aoibhin Flanagan

Salaries by academic qualification

Figure 3 reveals the highest academic qualification held by the IEMA members responding to this year’s survey. It shows that just 3% have no formal academic qualifications, while almost half (46.6%) hold a master’s degree. One quarter (25.8%) report that their highest academic qualification is a bachelor’s degree; a post-graduate diploma (13.1%); or vocational HNC or HND qualification (17.1%).

Figure 3 Level of highest academic qualification

IEMA members who have completed a doctorate earn significantly more than those who have not, with a median annual salary of £45,000 (see figure 4). Below that level, however, the link between the achievement of academic qualifications and earnings power is less clear. In fact, the few members who have no academic qualifications appear to earn a median salary (£37,750) that is higher than those who have a BA or BSc degree (£36,000) – although this position is reversed when the mean measure is used (see figure 4).

Figure 4 Salary by highest qualification

It is important to note that many of the academic qualifications held by members may be in subject areas that are unrelated to their current profession, while the findings do not take into account the wealth of work-based or other vocational training that IEMA members typically undertake each year.

Although some practitioners may benefit from higher entry into the profession through study for a degree or master’s in a specialist environmental or sustainability field, others may have completed a non-related degree some time before entering the profession but undertaken considerable specialist on-the-job training and experience. It is interesting to note, however, that the median annual salary for practitioners with qualifications that are more likely to have a specialist vocational focus, such as postgraduate diplomas and HNDs, are higher than for those whose qualifications may not necessarily be vocational, such as an MA or BA – suggesting there is much to be gained from these forms of study.


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