Largest sustainability market survey: Market growth and gender imbalance

The 5th instalment of the biennial CR and Sustainability Salary Survey, produced by Acre, Carnstone and Flag, reveals that average salaries have risen in Europe and North America, but have dropped in the UK from £56,360 to £55,071 since 2012.

Natural Resources remain the most highly paid sector with an average salary of £102k, having risen 7% since 2012. Support Services (facilities management and outsourcing) emerges as the second most highly paid sector at £74k, closely followed by Telecoms, Industrials and Banking & Finance. Leisure and Retail remain the lowest paid sectors at £48k and £49k respectively.

The survey attracted 1200 respondents, an increase of 42 per cent in comparison to the previous 2012 report indicating significant growth in the sector. High levels of executive commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainability (CR/S) are reflected in the results with nearly 60 per cent of respondents reporting high or very high levels of engagement from executive management. Andy Cartland, Founder of Acre comments “this level of engagement is encouraging for our industry, but the percentages must increase significantly before we can claim that sustainability is truly integrated”.

The survey has generated some interesting insights into how professionals spend their time. For the first time, the top five activities were the same for in-house employees and consultants; CR/S Strategy Development and Implementation remains in the top position, followed by Reporting/Performance Measurement, then Environment, Stakeholder Engagement and Auditing/Assurance.

Carbon/Energy Management, however, has completely dropped out of the top five. Paul Burke, Senior Partner at Carnstone comments “the systems and processes for collating energy data have become more developed and efficient so the activity may be taking less time. Responsibility for energy management may also be devolving from CR/S teams to those working in other functions.”

Women continue to be employed in less senior roles compared to men, especially in consultancies. The global average salaries for men and women were £67,859 and £52,201 respectively and the average for women has dropped by almost £4,500k since 2012.

The survey confirms that the CR and Sustainability sector continues to create rewarding jobs with just over 80 per cent claiming to be satisfied or very satisfied in their current positions.

The full report can be downloaded at:


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