Meet the new breed of business executive - the CSR manager
10 April 2008, News release from Acre Resources
The corporate social responsibility (CSR) profession is now fully entrenched in UK business, according to a new salary survey.
The joint study by the consultancy Acona, recruitment agency Acre Resources and the Ethical Performance business newsletter shows that CSR managers are now as much a part of the scenery in British business as human resources professionals or marketing executives. An estimated 2000 work for companies in the UK, compared with virtually none ten years ago. A quarter of these control budgets of more than £1million a year and a third work in teams of more than four people.
However, the CSR profession is mainly to be found in large companies - the FTSE100 and, to a lesser extent, the FTSE250 - which have bigger reputations to protect, and have the resources to tackle issues such as climate change, employee volunteering, ethical supply chain management, human rights, diversity and community involvement.
Findings from the first ever CSR salary survey show that the average wage of a CSR professional is between £40,000 and £60,000 a year, with 40 per cent of the sample earning that amount. About 20 per cent take home £60,000-£80,000 and four per cent earn £120,000 or more. Two-thirds of respondents worked in London - not surprising as the CSR function tends to be centred at company HQ.
The profession is evenly split between men and women (51 per cent female to 49 per cent male), yet there is a marked gap in the pay levels of the two sexes. A significantly larger proportion of men are in the top pay band, earning at least £120,000, and women are disproportionately represented in the two lowest bands. Only in the middle wage bands is there parity between the sexes.
This indicates that men are more likely to occupy senior positions at managerial and director levels. In that respect the profession mirrors the general pattern found in business as a whole - even though one of the areas commonly dealt with by CSR professionals is diversity and equal opportunities.
The highest priority of CSR professionals was working on environmental policies and programmes, including on climate change, cited by 32 per cent of respondents. Other priority areas were compiling the company's annual corporate responsibility report (29 per cent), community involvement (21 per cent) and conducting dialogue on social and environmental issues with stakeholders (10 per cent).
The survey also found a flourishing consultancy scene specialising in CSR, with more than 400 professional services organizations in Europe dedicated to advising businesses on corporate responsibility. However, salaries in the consultancies are lower on average by about £5-10,000 than in the corporate sector.
Paul Burke, senior partner, Acona:
'The fact that these people sit within their own departments and often control substantial budgets with sizeable teams suggests the corporate responsibility function in larger companies is here to stay. It would be wrong to claim that CSR is yet a major element of corporate activity but it is certainly now mainstream and has become an established part of the landscape. We found that just under half of heads of CSR reported directly to the chief executive or a main board director.'
Tom Leathes, director and co-founder of Acre Resources:
'Our survey shows that CSR is not, as some may have believed, a passing fad, and that it is now deeply embedded in UK business. Salaries in CSR are rising - and are perhaps higher in general than some will have expected - however they're not in line with more established industry sectors. That CSR professionals choose - often despite the higher material rewards available elsewhere - to
work within the sector is powerful testimony to the attractiveness of helping organizations improve their social, environmental and ethical performance.'
Peter Mason, Editor, Ethical Performance:
'In the early days, people would switch over from other departments, such as corporate relations, to become CSR managers. But now there is a new generation of more expert, mainly younger people who have only ever been involved with CSR and often have second degrees in CSR-related subjects.'
To download the CSR Salary Survey, go to www.csrsalarysurvey.com
For further quotes or information please contact:
Tom Leathes, Acre Resources, +44 (0) 845 257 8030
Peter Mason, Ethical Performance, + 44 (0) 20 8874 3535
Paul Burke, Acona, +44 (0)20 7812 7130
The survey was conducted as a confidential online questionnaire and drew responses from 281 practitioners, 85 of whom worked for FTSE 100 companies, in late 2007.
The respondents - individuals with CSR and sustainability responsibilities working for companies and professional services organizations in the UK, including legal firms and other limited liability partnerships - were asked for details of their annual salary and any bonus, but not of pension or other benefits.
Acona is an independent employee-owned CSR consultancy and part of
Acona CMG risk consultancy. It has broad expertise and advises large, mainly
corporate clients on the full range of social, environmental and ethical matters,
from tentative first steps through to day-to-day management, strategic planning,
measuring performance and corporate reporting.
Acre Resources is the leading recruitment firm specializing in CSR and
Sustainability. Since 2003, the company has grown to 17 specialist
consultants, and works with clients ranging from FTSE100 corporations to niche
consultancies and NGOs.
Ethical Performance is a subscription-based monthly newsletter for
senior executives, now in its ninth year of publication. It is read by more than
3500 CSR and SRI personnel in large companies, investing institutions and
related organizations in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
For further information please email Acre Resources