Salary Survey Shows Green Workers Have More Job Security

by | Jun 4, 2009

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aia-cesSixty-eight percent of employees in the climate change sector feel the same or more job security than they did a year ago, due to a heightened response from government and business to the threat of climate change, according to Reuters’ first Carbon Salary Survey. The survey, conducted with green recruiters Acre Resources and consultancy Acona, polled nearly 1,200 professionals in areas such as renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions trading.

Reuters writes that Europe boosted its green industry when it agreed last December to source 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2020 and to cut its carbon emissions by 20 percent below 1990 levels, raising it to 30 percent by 2020 if a new global climate treaty is signed. President Obama is pushing Congress to pass its own climate legislation.

A key finding of the Reuters survey finds that the average green collar worker makes $76,000 per year, with half of respondents receiving an annual bonus of about $11,000. U.S.-based workers were the best paid, receiving salaries averaging $100,000; Australasia followed with $93,000, and workers in Asia earned the least at $41,500, according to the survey.

Other findings reveal that workers in the financial and legal sectors had the highest average salary at $116,000 and annual bonus at $95,500 while employees in green marketing, PR or media were paid the least at $58,000 a year. The survey also indicates that men earned 18 percent more than women.

Reuters also reports that the UK remains the green sector’s center, with 28 percent of corporate headquarters located there, followed by North America at 26 percent and the rest of Europe at 24 percent.

A common trait among respondents was a solid education, with 96 percent having at least one university degree, but the results showed that having green qualifications made little difference in salary, according to the survey. Those with environment-related degrees made less than $70,000 on average, while those holding more general degrees made around $85,000 annually.

Click here for survey results.

To meet the growing demand for green workers, educational institutions and organizations are offering more green-related courses.

As an example, PPG Industries has introduced three new American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Services (AIA/CES) courses, including two that meet the AIA’s new sustainable design (SD) requirement. The new courses include Paint Specifications and the Effects on Green Building and Energy Efficient Glazing, which­ are designated as SD learning units. Both also earn Health, Safety and Welfare (HSW) credit. A third new course, Specifying Glass, also is an HSW learning unit.

PPG now offers classroom instruction for 17 AIA/CES-approved courses specific to PPG glass, coatings and paint products. The company also provides eight courses approved by AIA for distance learning.

The move toward online training courses is a growing trend in the green sector. For example, Green Builder Media announced that its online educational platform, Green Builder College, through a partnership with ProTrain LLC, is  now offered at 135 colleges across the country, including the University of Arizona, University of Georgia, Rutgers State University, University of Washington, and Texas A&M University. These online courses cover topics such as land, energy, water, materials, indoor environment quality, green design, operations/maintenance, and environmental impact.

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