Climate Change Pros: Male, Well-Paid and Secure

Climate Change Pros: Male, Well-Paid and Secure

Professionals in climate change-related fields are more likely to be male, highly educated, well-paid and not worried about losing their jobs, according to a new survey.

The results of the inaugural Carbon Salary Survey offer a glimpse of the demographic make-up of this burgeoning sector that is poised to explode and reap the benefits of future U.S. climate change regulations and a new international climate change treaty.

The survey, conducted by recruiting firm Acre Resources and consultancy Acona CMG, in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Carbon Market Community, examined more than 1,100 professionals from around the world who work in areas such as emissions trading and renewable energy. The full report won't be released until Monday, but this story and chart from Reuters offer some of the findings.

• On average, these professionals bring home about $76,000 per year, with half receiving average bonuses of $11,000.

• About three-quarters (76 percent) are male, earning an average annual salary of $79,000. The young sector, however, has yet to reach income parity: Women (24 percent) earned an average annual income of $65,000.  

• Climate change professionals in North America earn the highest average annual salaries -- $100,000 -- followed by Australasia, at $93,000; Asian professionals earn the least, at $41,500.

• The lowest earners -- $57,500 -- were most likely found in media or marketing sectors, while those with the highest paychecks -- $116,000 -- worked in financial or legal services.

The authors found the majority (68 percent) unconcerned about job security, despite a slumping economy that has yet to bottom out and unemployment rates that keep rising.  They’re happy, too: 77 percent are satisfied with their work, and 93 percent would recommend a climate change-related job.

Ninety-six percent of those in the poll hold a university degree, with two-thirds (67 percent) earning a Masters and/or PhD. A degree in an environmentally focused field apparently does not guarantee the highest wages, according to the survey: Those holding Bachelors degrees in non-green fields earned an average of $83,500, compared to $67,500 for those with environmental degrees.

These professionals will likely find themselves in greater demand over the next five years, according to a separate survey (PDF) of more than 700 carbon market professionals published earlier this year from the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute.

More than 80 percent of respondents believe there is now a shortage of greenhouse gas staff and experts to handle current needs and initiatives -- a shortage that will likely grow more acute as new emissions trading schemes and climate policies are launched.

The report will be available Monday through the Thomson Reuters Carbon Market Community.

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