Senior level Sustainability jobs on the rise post pandemic

By Becci Knowles
UK businesses are now advertising twenty times more for Director of Sustainability roles than two years previously, says Natalie Douglass, Director at NSCG

Analysis of all UK job postings by people advisory firm New Street Consulting Group (NSCG) shows the average monthly vacancies for sustainability directors has jumped from 10 per month at the beginning of 2020 to more than 200 per month this year.  

Douglass says: “There have been numerous studies and anecdotal observations about the impacts of the pandemic on changing public attitudes towards sustainability and the wider ESG agenda. The sustainability job vacancy data really puts this into perspective. 

According to New Street Consulting Group, the number of Director of Sustainability job adverts reached an all time high in the first half of 2022. Within the six months following the UN’s Climate Change Conference COP26, March saw a record high of 212 roles advertised, whilst there were 204 and 202 roles on the market in February and April respectively. This is around double the levels seen in the same months last year.  

NSCG’s review of the job adverts shows that UK businesses are prioritising recruitment of environment-focused directors to develop sustainability strategies. A quarter of adverts (26%) specified this as the top-ranking specialised skill, with companies also expecting Directors of Sustainability to have specialised finance, business development and marketing experience.  

Sustainability must run throughout company cultures

Douglass comments: “The growing number of senior-level sustainability job adverts shows how seriously companies are taking notice of mounting eco-anxiety. With a growing importance on board agendas, we’re now seeing a surge of senior positions focused on tackling organisations’ social and environmental responsibilities such as Chief Impact Officers and Chief Purpose Officers.”

Average salaries for a Director of Sustainability have risen 7.7% in the past six years, with the median wage now standing at £62,200 and top salaries reaching £110,000 per annum.  

Douglass comments: “These leaders have a big job on their hands, however, it’s not just their responsibility to make sure companies remain relevant and eco-compliant. Being sustainable needs to be genuine and therefore must run throughout operating strategies and company cultures. Now is the time for businesses to be assessing whether they have the skills and expertise across their organisation to drive this.” 

Additional research by NSCG in October last year of 1,000 senior executives found that 82% are concerned that the next generation of business leaders don’t have the green credentials to build sustainable companies.  

About New Street Consulting Group (NSCG)

NSCG is a people advisory firm that helps organisations find, assess, build, and accelerate teams and leaders who are as good in practice as they are on paper.

The business does this through services which can be accessed individually or as an integrated service, from interim management and executive search through to talent intelligence, leadership assessment and development.  

NSCG can tailor solutions to any c-suite challenge with solutions such as finding great leaders, developing strong talent pipelines and building high-performing, flexible teams with all the right skills. 

About Natalie Douglass

Natalie Douglass is a director within the talent strategy consulting division of the business, leading the research delivery team and supporting clients with their people strategies. This covers a wide range of scenarios from businesses entering a new market or location, reviewing their talent/workforce planning, assessing their own position in the marketplace, or that of their competitors, or operating within a new or complex talent pool where they need to understand the context.

Douglass has worked in the recruitment industry for over 15 years, with almost 10 of those specialising in research and insight. She has worked on a variety of interesting projects throughout her career, including projects with household brands to support them in changes to business strategy. A focus has been helping businesses make decisions about where to relocate or set up new teams globally and helping them improve their diversity and inclusion strategies.


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