Practitioners' survey 2016 - the highlights
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Annual IEMA poll reveals high levels of job satisfaction but a widening gender pay gap
Forty-three per cent of members responding to the 2016 survey of IEMA practitioners are very or highly satisfied in their work, while a further 39% reported being at least moderately satisfied. Just 6% say they derive little satisfaction. These encouragingly high rates lead many practitioners to promote the profession to graduate and career changers.
As the environmentalist reported last month, the results also show that respondents with more than five years’ experience would recommend the profession to others. More than one-third (35%) said that, if they were advising candidates about what to expect from an environment and sustainability career, they would say it was an area where practitioners can make a difference and have a rewarding career.
On the pay front, two-thirds of respondents have received a pay increase in the past 12 months, and median earnings for IEMA members (£38,180) remain well ahead of those for full-time employees in the UK generally (£27,600) in 2015. The relatively high earnings for environment and sustainability practitioners reflect a very well qualified profession. Half have an MA or MSc. The IEMA membership is also working increasingly in senior roles, with 59% in a management or leadership position.
On a less positive note, the profession’s gender pay gap has reached a five-year high, at 16.7%. The analysis shows that the gap starts to appear between ages 25 and 29 and becomes increasingly pronounced. The figure compares with an economy-wide gap in 2015 of 9.4%, which ONS said was the lowest since its annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE) started in 1997.
Practitioners continue to benefit from a range of training and development opportunities, with 91% of respondents undertaking some form of continuing professional development (CPD) in the 12 months to 15 January, when the poll closed. Many members also report that their CPD is having tangible benefits for their organisation, with more than one-third (35.5%) saying it had boosted environmental performance and more than one in five (21%) claiming the development has helped to save their employer money.
The top findings
- The median – or midpoint in the range – annual salary for IEMA members is £38,180, with the mean or average at £43,812.
- IEMA members working in business or industry tend to earn more (median annual salary of £40,000) than their public sector counterparts, whose pay (median annual salary of £34,000) continues to suffer from the effects of public spending cuts and government restrictions on pay increases.
- Two-thirds of members saw their total annual income increase in 2015, down from 73.5% in 2014. A quarter received no salary uplift in 2015.
- The median going rate for Graduate members starting out in the environment and sustainability profession is £24,500 a year. By contrast, the median salary for IEMA Fellows is £68,000.
- Some 93% of respondents have higher academic qualifications, with only 3% reporting no formal qualifications and half possessing a masters degree.
- The gap between the earnings of men and women in the environment and sustainability profession has widened over the past year, with women now earning a median annual salary that is 16.7% lower than men’s. This compares with 12.5% in the 2015 survey.
- However, younger women tend to earn slightly more than their male colleagues in the first few years of post-study employment, only falling behind between ages 25 to 29.
- Job satisfaction remains high, with 82% scoring it 4, 5 or 6 on an ascending six-point scale.
- Almost one in five (18%) of respondents moved to a more senior role in 2015, while 59% are in a managerial or leadership position.
- Most respondents (91%) undertook some form of continuing professional development in 2015, with IEMA webinars or attending a CPD workshop or training course being the most popular.
Details of the 2016 survey
The 2016 IEMA survey results are based on responses from 1,047 members. These environmental and sustainability practitioners provided pay and working conditions data based on their earnings and working experience during the 2015 calendar year.
The online poll closed on 15 January. Respondents are representative of IEMA in terms of their membership type: 4% Graduate members; 18% Affiliates; 54% Associates (AIEMA); 7% Full members (MIEMA); 14% MIEMA and Chartered environmentalist; 1% IEMA Fellows; and 1% exclusively GACSO members.
Almost half (47%) worked in business or industry sectors of the economy, most commonly in manufacturing and construction. One-third worked for consultancies, with a further 12% in public sector roles, mostly in regulatory (Environment Agency or Scottish Environment Protection Agency, for example) or central government bodies. Some 4% worked in academic or research roles, while 3% worked in the third sector. Consultant members were most likely to work for firms specialising in environmental or sustainability services (56%) or engineering (31%), with a smaller proportion in planning (5%), management (5%) or health and safety (3%) consultancies.
By size, more than half (54%) of members worked for employers with more than 1,000 employees. Some 16% worked for organisations with between 251 and 1,000 employees, while 18% worked for a small (between 10 and 50 employees) or medium-size (between 51 and 250) enterprise. A further 6% worked for a ‘micro’ firm (10 or fewer employees) and 6% were sole traders.
The headline findings in the figures show both mean, or average, and median salary, which is the midpoint in the range of salaries. When only one figure is used, however, we have highlighted the median because it reduces the influence of outlying salaries at the top or bottom of the pay range. The basic salaries cited exclude overtime, commission, bonuses or other elements of contingent pay that can boost earnings. Some findings have been rounded up or down, so the total may not always add up to 100. Where appropriate, comparisons are made with economy-wide data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
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