Infrastructure and housing projects driving environmental sector growth

6th June 2016

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  • Business & Industry ,
  • Built environment ,
  • Consultancy ,
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  • Public sector


Delyth Melanie Toghill

The demand for highly skilled specialists in the environmental sector is growing, with new infrastructure projects and a rise in housebuilding largely responsible, according to a study.

Market intelligence experts Environment Analyst and recruitment firm Allen and York analysed around 1,700 responses to a survey of environment professionals and records for 1,200 UK positions available through the jobs consultancy.

The majority of survey respondents who worked in environmental and sustainability consultancies (52%) said specialist staff numbers were rising, compared with 35% of those working in the corporate or industrial fields, and 7% of those working for government bodies.

Respondents working for consultancies were also positive about the future, with 57% forecasting that staff numbers would rise again over the next year, according to the report.

Pay trends were generally positive, with an average salary increase of 1.8% reported among those who have stayed in the same job over the past year, double that indicated the last time the poll was carried out in 2010.

Those working in consultancy reported an average increase of 3.1%, while practitioners with specialism in corporate environmental or sustainability management, due diligence, renewables and energy engineering, received the highest salaries.

The research revealed that the pay gap between men and women had narrowed slightly over the past five years. In 2010, women earned an average of £34,600 compared with men, who earned £43,300. In 2015, average salaries for women had risen to £41,600, while men are paid £49,800.

Almost one quarter (23%) of respondents, however, reported a pay freeze in their organisation, significantly less than in 2010, when 58% of those polled said salaries had been frozen.

Executive director of Allen and York Paul Gosling said: ‘The environmental sector is vibrant and growing. The demand for highly skilled specialists is rising, due in the main to new infrastructure projects and the proposed rise in house building across the UK.’

The analysis also revealed strong jobs growth in construction sustainability and energy management. Gosling predicted strong growth in the water sector. ‘Sustainable use of water in particular is, I predict, going to rise up the agenda in coming years. This will include flood risk, effective use of water resources and water management and will take different forms across the globe.’

Overall, 28% of respondents to this year’s survey reported job losses over the past 12 months at their organisation.


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