Workload and job satisfaction

17th March 2014

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Jill Bennett

The IEMA practitioners' survey 2014 examines environmental professionals' workloads and how happy they are in their roles

Survey respondents were asked to indicate their primary area of work (figure 9). The findings show that members’ most-cited primary area of work is now environment management, having been health, safety and environment (HSE) management for the previous two years.

In the 2012 practitioners’ survey, HSE management was the main work area for 20.3% of members and environment management was cited by 18.1%. Last year, HSE management was reported as the primary work area by 18.9% of members with environment management coming a close second at 18.5%. In this year’s survey, environment management is revealed as the primary work area for 20.6% of survey respondents, compared with 17.4% who cite HSE management. Next year’s survey will confirm whether or not this is a continuing trend.

The 2014 survey also explored members’ primary area of work according to the broad industry sector and subsector in which they are based. The findings highlight some key differences between the sectors; for example, consultancy (both environment and engineering) shows a high rate of environmental impact assessment (EIA) as a primary work area, with 31% of practitioners working in engineering consultancies and 27% of those based in environment or sustainability consultancies citing EIA as the key focus of their work. This compares with almost 2% of members based in business and industry and 7% of those working for the public sector who report that EIA is a primary area of their work.

This trend is reversed in the profile of practitioners citing HSE or environment management as their primary work area, with practitioners based in business and industry much more likely to have these disciplines as their main job focus. For example, 35% of practitioners based in manufacturing and 26% of those based in construction or civil engineering indicate that HSE management forms their primary area of work, compared with just over 4% of professionals working in engineering and environment/sustainability consultancies.

The public sector shows a more even distribution across the five primary work areas, with environment protection/regulation/legislation being the single largest primary area of work, reflecting the role of the regulators in the public sector.

In addition to looking at primary areas of work, the survey investigated the number of areas of work falling within the job remit of environment practitioners. The results provide a strong indication of the multidisciplinary nature of members’ work, with practitioners working across seven different work areas on average.

The survey results also reveal that the majority of environment professionals are happy in their work – more than two-thirds (70.1%) say that they are either satisfied or very satisfied in their role (figure 10). This level of job satisfaction has remained stable for the past three years, despite the additional work pressures that many practitioners may have faced during the harsh economic climate.

According to IEMA members’ feedback, this contentment is due, in the main, to intrinsic factors associated with being employed as an environment practitioner, primarily the interesting and challenging nature of their work.

Read the full survey results:

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