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GreenBiz Salary Survey Finds Execs Get Bigger Budgets & More Staff

<p>The second annual GreenBiz Salary Survey tracks more than just how much sustainability leaders at large corporations are paid; the study finds steady growth in attention to, and resources for, sustainability professionals.</p>

When it comes to corporate sustainability, how much leaders get paid for focusing on green within their firms is just the tip of the iceberg.

The data that tell a much more interesting story include figures on annual budgets for sustainability teams, how much time sustainability executives spend on the many duties of their roles, and the demographics of just who is driving sustainability at the world's biggest companies. today published its second annual Salary Survey results, a free report that tracks all of those stories, and more. The report, researched and written by John Davies, the VP of Intelligence at and the leader of the GreenBiz Executive Network, asked 536 members of the GreenBiz Intelligence Panel -- primarily at billion-dollar firms -- nut just how much they make, but how they work.

The findings are by and large promising:

• Eighty-six percent of large companies now have at least one full-time person spending all of their time on sustainability, compared to 81 percent last year; nearly 75 percent of respondents have a Vice President or Director-level executive working full-time on sustainability.

• Budgets are growing, if slowly: The number of companies spending up to $10 million on sustainability grew by 6 percent over last year, up to 22 percent.

• Staff is growing, too: Companies with green teams of six to 10 people also grew 6 percent in the last year, while green teams of up to 20 people in size grew just 1 percent, to 9. The biggest group of companies -- 48 percent -- have between one and five people on their green teams.

• Management takes sustainability more seriously: Fifty-six percent of respondents said that sustainability is "on the agenda permanently, but not core" to operations, while another 29 percent called it "a permanent fixture and core strategic consideration."

And of course, there are salary data in the report. The results are as follow: Vice President-level sustainability execs make an average of $218,409 annually; Director-level leaders earn $161,510; and Manager-level leaders make $105,345 annually.

The gender breakdowns show that men dominate at the highest levels of sustainability inside companies: More than two-thirds of the vice president roles and nearly three-fifths of the director roles in large corporations were men. And there's a pay gap in addition to the gender gap: A female vice president makes 11 percent less than a male VP, on average, and a female director makes 20 percent less than her male counterpart on average.

The survey also found a slight waning of optimism amongst sustainability leaders: Just 84 percent of VP-level respondents were either optimistic or very optimistic -- down from 90 percent last year -- and 12 percent of managers were pessimistic or very pessimistic this year -- up from just 1 percent last year.

The 2011 GreenBiz Salary Survey is available for free download from And for more insight into the results, read John Davies' analysis of the findings: 5 Myths About Sustainability Executives.

Workers photo via Shutterstock.

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