GreenBiz Group’s fifth State of the Profession report once again takes a look at the evolution of the role of the sustainability leader in today’s business world. As in years past, we conducted an in-depth survey to find out how much they earned, where they worked and what they did in the course of their job. Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s report.
Sustainability programs are sustainable.
We added a new question this year and asked whether programs would continue on their current trajectory if an organization’s sustainability leader and CEO both left. Only 17 percent said their programs would not continue, while 58 percent said it would carry on (25 percent didn’t know). One of the supporting reasons for this may be that almost two-thirds of those surveyed in both large and small companies (64 percent and 68 percent, respectively) replied that the head of sustainability at their organization regularly reports to the board of directors on their progress.
Rise of the specialists.
CSR and EHS departments have historically been aligned with sustainability efforts. The past few years have shown a marked increase in dedicated sustainability personnel in facilities (increasing from 7 percent to 22 percent since 2014) and supply chain departments (an increase from 10 percent to 31 percent over the same period)
Talent coming from the outside.
Two-thirds of vice presidents, managers and individual contributors reported being hired from the outside for their sustainability role, while 56 percent of directors were brought in from the outside. In terms of specific sectors inclined to seek fresh perspectives, financial services, consumer goods and technology companies top the list for looking outside for talent.
Gender pay parity.
Some of the more encouraging findings from this year’s survey are associated with gender equity. Women from companies with revenues greater than $1 billion constitute a majority of managers and directors responding to our survey (57 percent and 52 percent respectively) and 48 percent of vice presidents are women. Female managers and directors also out-earn their male counterparts, albeit by a small amount. The average pay for a female vice president is still 5 percent less than that for a male, but that’s a marked improvement from past years.
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