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Environment professionals 'happy in their work'

A survey of people in professional positions in the environment & sustainability sector has found that 82% are satisfied with their career – the highest figure recorded by the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA) which carried out the research.

The IEMA says the figure exceeds the 78% reported by the Office for National Statistics for those who consider themselves satisfied at work

According to the IEMA, reasons for the high figure include salaries being on the rise and markedly ahead of the average national income, employer support for personal development and the rewarding nature of the work.

IEMA chief executive Tim Balcon says the results paint a healthy picture of a fast-evolving, dynamic profession.

The number of our members who feel very happy with their careers is up 11% in just one year, which I think is proof that this is a profession heading in the right direction, and fast.

“UK plc is seeing the value and opportunity in boosting environment and sustainability performance, and is suitably rewarding the professionals responsible for keeping their business in business.”

The average earnings for an environment & sustainability professional in 2015 was £43,812. While two-thirds of respondents reported an official pay rise, the average 4.46% year-on-year increase in total earnings shows the profession is significantly outperforming the national 2% average.

In terms of skills, the reported showed:

  • 93% have academic qualifications
  • 55% have a masters or doctorate
  • 38% have at least a bachelor’s degree or other postgraduate qualification
  • 91% undertook some form of vocational training or development in 2015
  • 35% of them said the learning had directly helped them boost their organisation’s environmental performance

However, the IEMA says the statistics show that employers are at risk of causing a rift in comparative pay between male and female workers.

Although younger women tend to earn slightly more than their male colleagues in the early years of employment, this changes after the age of 25 to the point that the total gap between the earnings of male and female respondents widened last year: women earned a median annual salary that was £7,000 or 16.7% lower than men’s during 2015.

This compares with a gap of 12.5% reported in 2014 but is still a smaller gap than the UK average of 20%.

The IEMA 2015 Practitioner Survey was carried out between 21 December 2015 and 15 January 2016. The survey was distributed to more than 14,000 working professionals worldwide. The survey gained 929 responses from the UK.

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