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Published on: 23 May 2019


The median annual salary for a full-time environment and sustainability professional stands at £40,000, up 2.6% on the 2017 figure of £39,000. This is comfortably above.

that for UK employees nationally, which was £28,758 in April 2017, according to the latest Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It compares favourably to the ASHE full-time salary of an “environment professional” (£33,273 a year), but is lower than the salary published for “professionals in
the science, research, engineering and technology sector” which stands at £41,508.

Overall, the highest salaries go to members working in business and industry, who can expect to earn a median salary of £44,000 a year – a considerable increase on the £41,000 median salary reported in 2017. This year, the highest-paid sectors are the mining and quarrying sector (where the median is £57,000 a year) followed by finance and legal services (£52,730); although finance and legal services has the highest pay (£66,196) using the mean average. 

In last year’s survey we reported that consultancy pay had dipped somewhat and suspected that this might have partly been down to sampling variations. But this trend continues this year, with consultancy salaries dipping from a median £37,750 last year to £37,000 in 2018. While public sector salaries have crept up slightly on last year to stand at £36,000, those in the third sector looked to have decreased a little to stand at a median £31,250 a year.

Salaries by Broad Sector   Mean Salary (£) Median Salary (£) Business and industry 47,404 44,000 Consultancy 41,192 37,000 Education/ academia/ reserach 40,903 38,000 Public sector 40,512 36,000 Third sector 39,568 31,250 All 44,439 40,000 Base = 816


Salaries by Industry (Examples)   Mean Median Mining and quarrying 58,626 57,000 Financial and legal services 66,196 52,730 Electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply and generation 49,014 48,875 Transportation and storage 44,861 46,000 Engingeering 47,411 45,500 Construction/ civil engineering 46,474 44,512 Facilites/ property managment 48,676 42,000 Manafacturing 45,714 41,250 Wholesale and retail trade 54,091 40,000 Waste managment and remediation 36,052 35,000 Base = 379

Salaries By IEMA Membership Level

When asked about their greatest achievement over 2017 (see page 43), many members said that it was achieving an upgrade of their IEMA membership status by demonstrating the knowledge and skills they had gained. 

While the professional rewards of doing so stretch well beyond pay, the chart below illustrates that this progression is well rewarded in pay terms, with significant differences in salary between each grade. For example, the findings suggest that a pay premium of around 60% can be gained through progression from Graduate membership to the Practitioner grade, while this salary can be enhanced by almost another 20% via progression to Full IEMA membership. 

The salaries of IEMA Fellows, leaders in the environment and sustainability field, appear to have seen a boost this year. The median salary has reached £86,500, which is 3.5 times higher than the median £25,000 salary for a graduate member.

Median Salary by Membership level   Salary (£) Fellow 86,500 Full 47,500 Practitioner 40,000 Affilicate  38,295 Associate 35,000 Graduate 25,000 Base = 816


Salaries By Uk Region

For those based in the UK, professionals in the South East and the West of Scotland top the regional pay table this year with annual median salaries of around £42,000, while those in Wales see the lowest median salary at £35,000.  

This year’s findings broadly mirror regional earnings differentials across the economy as a whole, with the ONS reporting the highest earnings in London, the South East and Scotland and the lowest earnings in Wales. 

Median Salary by UK Region South East 42,035 Scotland West 42,000 Scotland North 41,000 North East 40,000 South West 40,000 Yorkshire and the Humber 40,000 North West  39,300 East of England 38,000 Northern Ireland 38,000 Scotland East  38,000 Midlands 37,000 Wales 35,000 Base = 739