Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Middle CSR ranks enjoy better pay and security

May 2010

Rising salaries, bigger budgets and greater job security: that’s the general portrait of the corporate responsibility profession painted in the results of the latest CR Salary Survey.

Building on the annual surveys started in 2008, this year’s research, carried out jointly by Ethical Performance, the recruitment agency Acre Resources, and the Acona consultancy, for the first time gathered data from the rest of the world outside the UK. In doing so it has shown an occupation emerging relatively unscathed from the recession.

The 2009 report, which only covered the UK, showed salaries at much the same level as the year before, and some worries about job security. This year, however, the overall median salary rose from $70,000-75,000 to $85,000-90,000, with about 40 per cent of respondents earning more than in the previous survey and a third of the 595 respondents saying they feel ‘more secure’ in their jobs than a year ago. The global focus has also revealed that the proportion of people earning above $150,000 stands at around a fifth,  although there is some evidence that salaries for the most senior employees have fallen back slightly over the past 12 months.     

Those working in North America commanded, on average, the highest salaries, followed by those in Europe and then the UK – although comparability is not exact due to currency differences. There are large differences across sectors: the construction and property industry paid on average a wage of $136,000, compared to professional services, whose mean salary was $89,000. The banking sector had the second-lowest rate of pay at $94,000 — a fact perhaps attributable to the more general problems that have affected the sector over the past couple of years.

Money also looks to have been flowing to CSR departments. Compared with the UK-only focussed survey last year, there has been an increase in the number of budgets of over $500,000 directly controlled by respondents, although the number of professionals controlling no budget at all has also gone up. There is evidence that in-house team sizes have grown, to around an average of seven or eight.

For consultants, however, the picture is slightly less rosy. The myth that a move into consultancy is the path to greater riches has once again been exposed, as the data revealed that consultants are paid around $15,000 less than those working in house, and are more likely not to receive a bonus for their year’s work.

The top three areas of activity for in-house employees have remained consistent over the past three years, being community investment, reporting and the environment. Consultants continue to focus on reporting, followed by auditing and assurance and community investment.

One impressive feature is the highly qualified nature of most practitioners. More than 80 per cent hold a first and/or postgraduate degree, and CSR-specific qualifications are also prevalent, with ten per cent of respondents now holding a CSR professional qualification.

For the overwhelming majority (91 per cent) of respondents, their current role in CSR was not their first job. On average, people had been in full-time employment for 14 years and just over half had worked in CSR previously, though many had come from NGO work.

The gender pay gap has narrowed slightly, but remains a factor in the profession. The 56/44 split between female and male is reversed when salaries of $180,000 are in question, with women under represented in all salaries above $100,000. Men continue to be more likely to secure senior positions, such as director.

There is one bright spot on the gender front, however: in continental Europe, female total cash remuneration exceeds that of males.

Acre Resources | UK & NI Ireland | CSR

Further Information
3BL Media News
Sign up for Free e-news
Report Alerts
Job Vacancies
Events Updates
Best Practice Newsletter