Environment and sustainability professionals still outperform the UK average in job satisfaction and remain optimistic about the challenges ahead.
This confident note is struck by the annual report on members’ conditions and attitudes by IEMA, the UK-based international professional body for environment and sustainability specialists.
Almost seven in ten told the survey they were satisfied or highly satisfied, and the one third of respondents moving into the sector from other jobs are even happier, registering a 78 per cent satisfaction rating. They find their work “challenging”, “rewarding” and “full of opportunity”.
As a comparison, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reports a 64 per cent rating and the recruitment group CV-Library 60 per cent.
Rising pay, stable employment and career mobility contribute to the profession’s satisfaction rate.
Median salaries, for example, rose last year by 2.6 per cent from £39,000 to £40,000 ($54,000 to $55,500, €43,700 to €44,800), well above the typical UK level of £28,758. The gender pay gap narrowed slightly, though at 14.1 per cent above the national average. There are few women in senior roles but in the 40-45 and 50-54 groups they are earning more than their male equivalents.
Tim Balcon, the IEMA chief executive, calls the sector attractive to job-seekers: “It’s fantastic that, yet again, we are able to report that this is a profession that exceeds the national averages for job satisfaction, employability and pay.
“Anyone looking for a job that recognizes and rewards dedication and the ability to make positive change should look no further.”
The survey reports robust reaction to today’s Brexit-related political uncertainty. Of the respondents, 56 per cent are optimistic about dealing with the challenges, up by 13 per cent in a year. The under-30s are slightly more sceptical, and many respondents wanted stronger political and corporate leadership.
Balcon concludes: “This profession has a huge responsibility on its shoulders, yet I am not surprised that so many practitioners are undeterred. This is a group of people who dedicate their entire careers to tackling challenges and delivering against global goals for a sustainable future.
“The issues we have to overcome are not limited to environmental challenges.
“I am pleased to see the pay gap between men and women is closing, but we have far to go.
“I want to call on all employers to address how they support the career paths of gifted female workers as well as those from diverse backgrounds. The levels of talent, knowledge, skill and ambition in the IEMA membership, all evidenced in the … report, is beyond impressive and employers risk missing out if they don’t take the right steps now.”