How much does a Sustainability Manager earn? 

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Our aim when researching and producing the Environment and Sustainability Remuneration Report was to fill a gap in the market that we found to exist around robust remuneration data. Over the coming months we will be profiling each role contained within the report and you can read the full Executive Summary here. To enable us to produce the report we collected information from over 200 companies with 412 distinct data sets provided across eight different roles . This data has come from a variety of industries and locations, across both Australia and New Zealand.

Chart by Visualizer

Chart by Visualizer

What should a Sustainability Manager job description look like?

Responsible for the development, management and implementation of an organisation’s sustainability strategy and agenda, a Sustainability Manager’s role is pivotal in understanding how an organisation has an impact on the world around them through business practice. This can be in terms of an organisation’s impact on the environment, resource consumption, supply chain practices, community engagement, employee engagement and the impact of their business practices or products and services in general.

The Sustainability Manager is also involved in technical support, education and business development, ensuring sustainability is integrated seamlessly into all elements. They play a crucial role in driving consistency and transparency, ensuring the organisation’s core sustainability commitments are maintained and ultimately exceeded.

What Skills Should Hiring Managers Look For?


  • A university degree or equivalent is essential with post graduate studies desirable.

Industry experience

  • 7-10+ years of experience in a professional sustainability environment.
  • Previous experience and active participation in various sustainability programs.
  • Experience managing projects in challenging and sometimes national or global scale environments
  • Management & leadership experience.

Skills and knowledge

  • A strong and up to date theoretical understanding of sustainability.
  • Strong data management, budgeting and sustainability reporting skills
  • Ability to build personal and organisational credibility and build beneficial internal and external relationships.
  • Ability to manage external contractors to meet deadlines and goals
  • Ambitious with a high level of energy and commitment
  • Decision maker and solutions oriented
  • Able to adapt quickly to changes
  • Excellent written, verbal communication and influencing skills
  • Sustainability reporting bodies and indexes

Remuneration for a Sustainability Manager

  After surveying over 200 companies, our research has shown that the average Total Remuneration (TR) package paid for an Environment Manager was $180,856 , made up of an average Total Fixed Remuneration (TFR) of $163,526 , and a Short-Term Incentive (STI) of 11.2% paid out from a possible 17.4% average potential bonus. A small proportion of respondents were eligible for Short Term Incentives; while Long Term Incentives are rare at this level.

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Sustainability Manager – Gender

Although the female to male ratio of respondents at a Sustainability Manager level was 2:1, males on average command slightly (2.8%) higher salaries than their female counterparts.

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Sustainability Manager – Location and Sector

Packages for Sustainability Managers in the Finance Sector (driven by those located in New South Wales) are on average significantly (19%) higher than other sectors, with Mining and Metals 3% above the average TR. All other sector’s packages are clustered closer together, with Real Estate paying slightly below the average salary followed by Industrials and Materials, then Consumer Discretionary and Staples. Government, Education and NFP’s paying 9.3% below the average.

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Sustainability Manager – ASX vs Non ASX Listed

ASX listed entities remunerate at a significantly higher level (+20%) than private or non-listed entities.

What does this mean?

To attract a skilled and qualified Sustainability Manager, the package depends on the sector, but generally it should comprise a base salary in the ballpark of $180,856 , with a short-term incentive of ~11.2% in place, the component paid dependent on business and individual performance.

Beyond the Resume

To attract and retain a Sustainability Manager who not only has the required skillset but also the passion for the role, it’s important to delve deeper than a CV. What you can learn about a candidate on paper, or even in an interview situation, is limited- often you don’t know who you’ve really hired and how they really fit until they’re a few weeks or months into the role.

The best and most reliable way to hire the talent you need is through a robust and high quality network. A referral from a trusted source within your network is going to carry more weight than a myriad of qualifications and the most impressive work experience on paper. In our experience, the very best Sustainability Managers are those who not only have the skills but have a passion and desire that the work they do truly makes the world around them a better place. This plays out not only in the workplace, but in their personal life and with every interaction they have. People like this often aren’t actively searching for roles, but given the right opportunity at a company that fits, can be motivated to move (if the conditions are right).

The team at Talent Nation has over 15 years’ experience in placing Sustainability Managers into organisations within Australian and New Zealand, and are happy to work with you to structure the right package to ensure you attract the people who will really drive your sustainability plans forward. We want to work with our clients to ensure you are having a positive impact on the world around you; to work towards a better future for all.

Talent Nation has recruited within the Sustainability industry for over 15 years. As one of Australia’s only specialised Environment & Sustainability recruitment agencies, we are passionate about connecting purpose-driven people with purpose roles and companies within Australia and New Zealand. This report provides information of a general nature across a number of sectors, however we are more than happy to give more specific advice relevant to individual or company circumstances. For a detailed discussion on how we can help, contact us on  +61 3 9600 0115.

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