Earnings by seniority in sector

22nd March 2011

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The IEMA pay and benefits survey 2011 reveals the differing levels of pay of environment professionals

Almost half the survey sample (47% of respondents) are employed in business and industry, excluding consultancy, which accounted for another 30.9%. Nearly one in five (18.4%) works in the public sector, while academic or research institutions employ 3.6% of those polled.

Figure 1 shows the median total annual earnings by broad job level in both the private and public sectors and reveals, predictably, that higher earnings are associated with more senior positions across all sectors.

Figure 1: Median annual earnings by seniority in sector

The education sector, including academic research institutions, follows this trend over the researcher-to-professor progression, with median salaries between that of a middle manager and coordinator/specialist in private sector business. The figures for education earnings need to be treated with more caution than the other sectors since the samples are very small, especially for the more senior posts.

Table 1 reinforces the picture suggested by figure 1: that practitioners in the private sector, whether they are employed by consultancies or manufacturing or service businesses, have higher total earnings than their public sector counterparts. This is in line with official data; the government’s annual survey of hours and earnings found a median salary of £24,695 for all private sector workers in April 2010, while the median for the public sector was £23,680.

Table 1: Average annual earnings data by seniority in sector
Total earnings
Sector/base Senioriity Mean Median
Business and industry Overall £44,135 £39,303
38 Executive director £81,899 £77,000
200 Senior manager £57,452 £52,000
364 Middle manager £42,943 £40,000
321 Coordinator/specialist £36,402 £34,000
61 Assistant/junior position £24,740 £24,000
Consultancy Overall £37,524 £32,500
152 Director/partner/associate £53,297 £50,000
213 Senior/principle consultant £37,383 £36,000
282 Consultant/specialist £29,129 £25,600
Public sector Overall £34,540 £31,532
101 Senior/principle officer £45,550 £39,000
226 Middle-ranking officer £33,052 £31,000
66 Junior officer £24,563 £24,628
Education/academia/research Overall £34,540 £35,000
7 Professor/senior lecturer £47,714 £49,000
10 Lecturer £34,395 £35,075
9 Researcher £23,557 £30,000
29 Facilities/estates £35,100 £36,000
21 Other £34,152 £31,700

Research by pay analysts the Hay Group has found that the differential between private and public sector jobs widens at senior levels, a finding that is also reflected in our survey. For example, a senior/principal officer in the public sector can expect to earn £39,000, which is comparable to that of a middle manager in business and industry, who typically earns £40,000. This conclusion is also supported by the data in the next section, which looks at average earnings by industrial sector.

Read the full survey results:

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