Gender gap in sustainability shrinks as job satisfaction continues to thrive

The gender gap in the Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CRS) sector shrunk last year, with pay disparities shortening and the number of women occupying "top jobs" increasing, a new salary survey has revealed.

The Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CRS) Salary Survey – produced by sustainability consultants Acre, Carnstone and Flag – has revealed that the average salary for men in the sector decreased by 0.7% to £67,408 last year, while salaries for women increased by 5.6% to £55,148.

Of the 1,296 respondents to the survey, 61% of which were based in the UK, 93% also revealed that they would recommend a career within the sector, a thought process that has remained consistent with previous versions of the survey.

Acre’s managing director Andy Cartland said: “We were surprised to see the gender pay gap close so dramatically this year. Diversity has been a big topic within the sustainability community over the past two years, and the discussion appears to be having an impact.”

While the UK average for salaries saw a 3% increase in pay for men – up to £63,180 – and an 8% increase for women – up to £52,170 – from 2014 figures, the diminishing levels of gender disparity seem to have boosted job perception in the sector.

Senior roles

The sixth edition of the survey, which has been produced to highlight the salaries & benefits and responsibilities of those working in the CRS sector, revealed that the number of women occupying senior roles within the sector increased by 7% since the last survey.

In total, the number of women occupying in-house roles as a director or head of department climbed from 37% in the last survey to 44%. Female representation at manager level also reached 59%, a huge increase of 11% from 2014. Despite these strides, the number of women occupying senior roles within consultancies increased by a modest 3% to just under a third.

Paul Burke, senior partner at Carnstone LLP said, “It’s clear that consultancies have some catching up to do with their in-house counterparts in terms of gender representation at senior levels, but that both are moving in the right direction can be seen as a very positive sign.”

The findings of the survey reflect on edie’s own salary investigation, which revealed that men in the sustainability sector were earning £11,500 more than women, which is double the average gender pay gap for the whole of the UK.

Matt Mace

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