The newly published, inaugural Carbon Salary Survey, is one the first studies to provide detailed information about professionals working in the climate change and emissions trading markets globally.  The Carbon Salary Survey, which culled responses from 1,157 participants, is a collaborative project between Acre Resources, a green recruiting consulting firm; Acona, a CSR consulting firm;  and Thomson Reuters Carbon Market Community. Throughout April 2009, they surveyed people working in the following areas: renewable energy; clean technology and energy efficiency; carbon finance/brokering; carbon/climate change law, policy or regulation; the project-based emissions market under the Kyoto Protocol(CDM & JI); and the voluntary offset market and climate change science. Based on the results, it appears that green professionals overall are well-paid, feel that they have job security and are happy.

The average salary of participants in North  America was $99,995.  According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in the US is $30,557.   Despite the gloomy state of the economy and job market,  68% feel equally or more secure in their jobs than they did a year ago, and more that three-quarters report feeling satisfied with their jobs.

Click here to down load the full Carbon Salary Survey.

Highlights From The Study

  • Of the people surveyed, 20% considered themselves to be in management roles, which would be a significantly higher proportion than a sample of the wider workforce.
  • Over one-third of the respondents (27%) were based in North America, with similar numbers based in the UK (28%), and the rest of Europe (25%).
  • Given that this is a growth area, and many organizations are still seeking external expertise to help them understand and manage the impacts of climate change, a large percentage work for consulting companies (49%).

Job Function

  • Nearly a thirds (31%) of respondents view themselves as consultants and 20% see their role as primarily managerial. A further 18% regard themselves as analysts.
  • The renewable energy and technology (16%), and the financial and legal services (11%) sectors also account for a high proportion of respondents.
North American Participants by Sector
Sector Percentage
Charitable and Public Sector 11%
Consulting and Advisory 24%
Consumer, Wholesale and Retail Goods 2%
Engineering and Construction 7%
Financial and Legal Services 16%
Industrials and Utilities 6%
Marketing, PR and Media 1%
Natural Resources 4%
Renewable Energy and Technology 18%
Transportation 1%
Other 10%

Top Five Activities in North America

While energy efficiency and CDM/JI project development featured highly for each geographical region, renewable energy (particularly solar and wind) were most prevalent in North America and the UK.
1. Energy Efficiency
2. Solar
3. Wind
4. Power Generation
5. Biomass

Gender

Women not only were represented in fewer numbers, they also were less well-paid than men.  The average male salary ($79,379) was 23%  higher than female salaries ($64,582). The wage gap was more pronounced in engineering and construction, consulting and advisory sectors, and less so in marketing, public relations and media, industrial and utilities and consumer wholesale sectors.

Percental of Women to Men Working in Each Sector
Sector Female % Male %
Charitable and Public Sector 41 59
Consulting and Advisory 22 78
Consumer, Wholesale and Retail Goods 31 69
Engineering and Construction 14 86
Financial and Legal Services 28 72
Industrials and Utilities 20 80
Marketing, PR and Media 35 65
Natural Resources 24 76
Renewable Energy and Technology 15 85
Transportation 20 80
Other 27 73

Job Function

Nearly a third (31%) of respondents view themselves as consultants and 20% see their role as primarily managerial. A further 18% regard themselves as analysts.

North American Participants by Sector
Sector Percentage
Charitable and Public Sector 11%
Consulting and Advisory 24%
Consumer, Wholesale and Retail Goods 2%
Engineering and Construction 7%
Financial and Legal Services 16%
Industrials and Utilities 6%
Marketing, PR and Media 1%
Natural Resources 4%
Renewable Energy and Technology 18%
Transportation 1%
Other 10%


Job Satisfaction and Job Security

More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents to the survey reported being satisfied with their jobs, with the highest levels of job satisfaction being in industrials and utilities (81%) and 93% of respondents working in the space would recommend a career in climate change to others. In North America, 73% of respondents reported being satisfied with their jobs.  These high satisfaction levels are a positive sign both for those in the space, and people looking to move into it.   Additionally, 68% of climate change professionals believe that job security is unchanged or better than it was 12 months ago.

Salaries

The average salary across the sample globally was $75,901 and the median salary was considerably less at $63,849. over half of the respondents earned between $40,000 – $100,000. The highest average salary was in North America ($99,995) closely followed by
Australia ($92,812). Respondents from the UK earned an average of $77,291 whilst the rest of Europe earned a slightly higher average of $78,059. The highest average salaries were found in the financial and legal services sector ($115,841) and the lowest were found in marketing, PR and media ($57,663). Those working in in-house roles had a higher average salary ($80,015) – compared to those identifying themselves as consultants ($71,544).

Average Salary Globally by Qualification
Education Type Salary
Overall $75,901
Bachelors (Climate Change Related) $67,254
Bachelors (Non-Climate Change Related) $83,683
Masters (Climate Change Related) $69,456
Masters (Non-Climate Change Related) $86,286
Professional $73,866

Bonuses

Half of all respondents received no bonus and the overall average bonus was $10,900. This may be a result of the economic climate. The highest average bonus was in the UK ($31,461). The average bonus in North America was $27,180.  In addition to receiving the largest average salaries, respondents in the financial and legal sector also received the highest average bonuses ($95,515). In addition to receiving the lowest average salary ($61,813), those working in an engineering function also received the lowest
average bonus ($6,306)

Team Structure

Professionals within climate change are working in smaller teams. Over 80% of respondents work in teams of 10 people or less.  A significant number work alone and half have no direct reports. The natural resources and engineering and construction sectors have the highest proportion of participants with no direct reportsand the transportation sector appears to have the largest teams, with the highest proportion of respondents with six to 20 direct reports.

Education, Qualification & Career History

Respondents to the survey were generally highly qualified, with 96% having a first and/or second degree of one sort or another.
23% had a bachelor’s degree in a climate change-related subject and 44% in a non-related subject. Over two thirds (67%) had second degrees (Masters/PhD/ MPhil/MBA etc) with an even split between those that were climate change-related (32%) and those that weren’t (35%). Only 7% had a professional climate change qualification

Despite the relative youth of climate change, both junior and senior professionalsis are being drawn to the space.  attracting . while 19% of our respondents classed their current position as their first full time job, Of the other respondents 45% had under 10 years experience in full-time employment and 36% had over 10 years.

There is also indication that dominated by professionals who have ‘switched’ from other areas of business. The results show that 58% of respondents for whom this was not their first professional job, had not worked in climate change prior to  their current position.

Average Salary Globally by Qualification
Education Type Salary
Overall $75,901
Bachelors (Climate Change Related) $67,254
Bachelors (Non-Climate Change Related) $83,683
Masters (Climate Change Related) $69,456
Masters (Non-Climate Change Related) $86,286
Professional $73,866
Length of Time in Full Time Employment Globally
Education Type Percentage of Respondents
First Professional Job 19%
Lest Than One Year 2%
One to Two Years 4%
Two to Five Years 17%
Five to Ten Years 22%
Ten to Twenty Years 21%
Ore Than Twenty Years 15%
Background of Respondents
Career Background Respondent Percentage
Academia 9%
Consulting 13%
Corporate 10%
Engineering 13%
Environment 14%
Finance 9%
Government 4%
Othert 8%
First Professional Job 18%

The sponsors of The Carbon Salary Survey plan to make it an annual piece of research, building on the data gathered and plotting the evolution of this space. they also intend to intend to factor the cost of living into future reports in order to provide more
meaningful comparisons and have requested your feedback on other ways to improve the survey or areas you feel were overlooked. Send your thoughts, comments and suggestions to beth@acre-resources.co.uk. Click here to down load the full Carbon Salary Survey.

Recommended Green Career Resources:

GreenCareerCentral.com – A Virtual Career Center. Get Clarity, Get Motivated, Get Hired!

THE COMPLETE GREEN JOB GUIDE 2009: SECRETS FOR GETTING THE JOB YOUR WANT – Discover How To Unlock The Booming Green Economy For Your Job Search And Future Financial Security with the 10 Breakthrough Steps You Need To Know To Find And Land A Green Job Quickly.

CLEANTECHIES RESUME AND COVER LETTER WRITING SERVICE – Cleantechies help job seekers ease the transition from mainstream to CleanTech. Learn More!

© 2009, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.