Believe it or not, the downturn has had its benefits for some. According to a new survey conducted by Acre Resources, a recruitment firm that focuses on sustainability, corporate responsibility and the environment sectors, estimates that most professionals in the CSR field actually saw an improvement in their salaries and job security in 2009.
Over 600 respondents comprising of senior CSR executives from North America, U.K. and Europe were polled by Acre along with Ethical Performance magazine and Acona, an independent consultancy, on several questions, including their salaries, their roles, their team sizes as well as their oversight on budgetary decisions. For U.K.-based CSR professionals, salaries were reported to have risen by 10% on average. For 5% of the respondents who work for multinational companies, salaries crossed the $200,000, with an additional 40% reporting making over the median salary of $85,000.
And that's not all. Two-thirds of the respondent said they received bonuses last year and 84% even went as far as stating that their job stability improved amid the downturn. These results are indicative most efficiently of the strategic role corporate responsibility is beginning to take at companies worldwide. While arguably the progress has been slowest in the U.S., it is picking up. For regular readers of this blog, this will draw parallels for you with my recent interviews with EMC's Chief Sustainability Officer, Kathrin Winkler, as well as cofounder of Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender.
Corporate consciousness is picking up. However, as the survey results gone on to illustrate, we cannot be hasty in declaring CSR as a strategic direction at companies a success just yet. As CSR professionals begin to capture senior management roles at businesses, they are also increasingly realizing that they need to continually expand their skill commercially to remain viable and relevant in their respective industries.
BusinessGreen.com, which reported the survey results, quoted Andy Cartland, a managing director at Acre saying, "As opportunities from the transition to a sustainable world and economy emerge, I anticipate a growth in the numbers of individuals in such positions," adding, "The metamorphosis is not yet complete, but when it is, expect to see dramatically increased salaries and new job titles such as Chief Sustainability Officer becoming common place."
And he isn't referring to eco-officers instituted by some companies to pay mere lip service to sustainability. He's referring to professionals who take on the sustainability role by evolving their skills within their industries to master the sometimes technical and sometimes elementary aspects of corporate responsibility. To see further results including how the salaries breakup by gender, by role, and more on the level of responsibility the surveyed executives enjoy, see the complete survey. Do you have something to add to the results? Join the discussion by leaving a comment, emailing In Good Company or connecting with me on Twitter @VaultCSR!