Gender pay gap closing, according to sustainability salary survey
By Adam Woodhall — The findings from the latest Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (CRS) salary survey run by Acre, Flag and Carnstone are certainly thought provoking. The stand out finding was whilst average salaries had risen there was a minor fall for men (-1%) and a rise for women (+5.6%).
Andy Cartland, managing director of Acre, said, “We were surprised to see the gender pay gap close so dramatically. Diversity has been a big topic within the sustainability community, and the discussion appears to be having an impact”.
However, as Dr Márcia Balisciano, Director of Corporate Responsibility for RELX Group, commented in the accompanying report: “Even at the median [men] are doing better than their female counterparts: the percentage of men earning a bonus of £20,000–£30,000 is double that of women. The rise in their salaries since the last survey is a positive development. But given our roles as champions for equality, if it doesn’t start with us, then where?”
The 1,296 respondents from around the globe are certainly a well-educated and generally happy bunch, with 93% having at least a first degree and 55% of respondents satisfied with their jobs and 26% very satisfied. There were many interesting statistics, and as the report had a number of trenchant comments from industry notables, we’ll let them do them talking—
Sonja Graham, Managing Partner of Global Action Plan, focused on the positives, observing: “No wonder that 93% of us would recommend a CRS career, given the smorgasbord of great people it attracts. As well as being gender balanced, the wide-ranging talents needed mean that there isn’t an identikit ‘CRS’ person.”
When looking at competencies, the ability to engage with stakeholders was viewed by all respondents as the most important with Paul Burke, Senior Partner of Carnstone, commenting “This emphasis on the centrality of stakeholders to effective CRS approaches is a powerful message not just for those working in the sector but for their employers and clients as well.”
Jim Woods, CEO for The Crowd, challenged the C-Suite to think bigger, remarking: “The remuneration of the most senior CRS person in an organisation is £121k. Is that enough to get the right level of business experience and talent?”
An even more challenging provocation was offered by Jeremy Oppenheim, the Managing Partner of SystemIQ: “Frankly, they are underpaid relative to the expertise and value that they offer. So, the real question for me is why are sustainability professionals paid a median wage of less than £60k?”
We’ll finish this review with a final note from Julie Hirigoyen, Chief Executive, the UK Green Business Council: “What is needed to address the … challenges we face as a species is transformational change. In reality, the progress being made is incremental at best, and imperceptible at worst. If the survey’s participants take only one thing from it, it should be to develop the leadership style required to embrace risks and ramp up the ambition to reflect the true scale of the challenge.”