Practitioners' survey 2015 - The highlights

10th April 2016

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Sam Henderson

IEMA members' incomes rise and gender pay differences narrow, annual poll finds

The 2015 IEMA survey of environment and sustainability practitioners brings some positive news on pay, training and job satisfaction. Almost three-quarters of respondents say their overall earnings increased over 2014, with their median salary standing at £38,000 a year.

Moreover, this year’s IEMA poll shows the gap between men and women’s annual salaries narrowing to 12.5% overall, with the data suggesting that female practitioners aged 25 to 29 now earn slightly more than male colleagues of the same age. Practitioners continue to benefit from a wide range of training and development opportunities, with webinars playing an increased role. Job satisfaction is up, with 71.5% of respondents reporting that they are satisfied or very satisfied in their current role.

The prospects for both economic growth and the labour market continue to improve. Although major global economic risks, such as the weakness of the eurozone economies remain, most economists consider that the fundamental characteristics of the UK economy are relatively sound. Meanwhile, the number of people in work continues to increase, with the employment rate of 73.2% at its highest level since records began in 1971.

Despite this, earnings continue to grow only at a snail’s pace, with pay including bonuses up by 2.1% during October to December 2014 compared with a year earlier, far below the pre-downturn norm of 4% to 4.5%. Earnings growth may now have officially edged above consumer prices index inflation, which was just 0.3% in January 2015, but there is a lot of catching up to do in view of the massive dent in real earnings caused by the downturn. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that weekly wages for the average employee fell by 10.3% between 2008 and 2014 in real terms.

The 2015 IEMA survey is based on responses from 1,238 members. These environment and sustainability managers, officers, consultants and researchers provided pay and working conditions data based on their earnings and working experience during the 2014 calendar year (for more details of the survey sample, click here).

The top findings

  • The median – or midpoint in the range – annual salary for IEMA members is £38,000, with the mean or average figure higher at £41,939.
  • Members working in business or industry earn more (£41,000 a year) than their public sector counterparts (£34,000), whose pay continues to suffer from the effects of public spending cuts.
  • Almost three-quarters (73.5%) of respondents saw their total annual income increase in 2014, compared with 58.9% in 2013.
  • Although the going rate for Graduate members starting out in the profession is around £24,000 a year, those who have reached top leadership positions as IEMA Fellows can command a median salary of £82,500.
  • The vast majority of survey respondents have higher academic qualifications, with 46.6% possessing a Master’s degree; just 3% report no formal qualifications.
  • IEMA members can achieve significant pay increases by progressing into a higher role, with the median salary differential between project/middle manager and senior manager roles in excess of £11,000.
  • There has been a significant narrowing of the gap between the earnings of men and women over the past year, with female professionals earning a median annual salary that is 12.5% lower than men’s in the 2015 poll, compared with 15.1% last year.
  • When the annual salaries of women and men aged 25 to 29 are compared, women in this age group earn 6.9% more than men of the same age.
  • The vast majority (92%) of respondents undertook some form of professional development in 2014.
  • Almost half (49%) of survey respondents participated in an IEMA webinar during 2014.
  • Job satisfaction has improved, with 71.5% of environment practitioners now satisfied or very satisfied with their job role, up from 65.1% in 2014.

Read the full 2015 pracitioners’ survey results:


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