Survey Reveals Positive Salary, Growth Trends in Phase I Environmental Industry

Jan. 13, 2006

Professionals who conduct Phase I environmental site assessments enjoy high job satisfaction and job security, particularly among senior staff. Salaries for consultants in this $500 million niche of the environmental industry are increasing at nearly double the rate of inflation, and access to benefits like medical insurance and profit sharing is well above U.S. averages, according to a recent industry survey.

Conducted by Environmental Data Resources, the groundbreaking compensation survey also revealed that environmental companies could face difficulty attracting and retaining qualified Phase I professionals in the coming year. Strong demand for environmental due diligence, along with the promulgation of the first federal site assessment rule, which establishes stringent qualifications for environmental professionals, could create a shortage of qualified staff.

"The ability to recruit and retain the right staff is the key to success in the Phase I industry,” said Dianne Crocker, senior economist and director of EDR's Market Research Group. “Healthy levels of commercial real estate transactions and the new federal site assessment law are creating a strong demand for Phase I professionals with the requisite qualifications. That demand is already exerting upward pressure on salaries. Managers will no doubt face staffing challenges in the coming year as they try to meet demand and retain qualified workers. The goal of our analysis was to provide professionals at every level access to the most detailed information on compensation in the Phase I market to ensure prudent decision-making in the coming year.”

EDR’s survey also found:

* On average, environmental firms bill clients between $75 and $100 per hour for Phase I services. When the federal law’s new professional qualifications requirements take effect on November 1, 2006, billable rates are likely to trend upward.

* Nearly 40% of the 432 Phase I professionals who responded to the survey earn between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. Experience and education were the top salary influencers, more so than firm size, geographic location or other variables.

* The top three job concerns are security, compensation and liability exposure.

* Nearly 60% of survey respondents who manage employees report that the critical window when staff members are most likely to leave is within the first one to three years on the job.

* Half of respondents expect their company to hire additional technical professionals in 2006.

Source: EDR