Median salaries increased across virtually all position types

Philadelphia, PA (September 5, 2017) The results of a 2017 survey of higher education sustainability staff indicate that campus sustainability positions continue to grow and evolve. The 2017 Salaries & Status of Sustainability Staff in Higher Education report examines the nature of sustainability positions at colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and other countries. This report provides insights into salaries, funding, supervision, job satisfaction, challenges, and more.

Notable findings from the 2017 report include:

  • Incremental increase in median salaries overall (5%) and across virtually all position types
  • Increase in rate of benefits for both fulltime and part-time employees from 2015 to 2017
  • Increase in institutions reporting at least one office, center, or institute with “sustainability” in it’s name (76 percent in 2017 versus 71% in 2015)
  • Increase in respondents whose positions are housed in a sustainability office or unit with sustainability in its name (63% in 2017 versus 60% in 2015)
  • Increase in percentage of respondents that personally control a budget (61% in 2017 versus 55% in 2015)
  • Incremental increase in respondents indicating that they supervise at least one paid worker (78% in 2017, 77% in 2015, 74% in 2012)
  • Direct reports to a Sustainability Officer increased in 2017 to 20% of respondents, surpassing “Top person in facilities or physical plant” (also 20%)
  • A steady increase in the number of sustainability professionals that have held their positions for 6 to 10 years (20% in 2017, 17% in 2015 and 10% in 2012)
  • Increase in full-time versus part-time positions among respondents (89% in 2017 versus 86% in 2015)

“We are pleased to see the continued maturation of the campus sustainability career field indicated by this year’s results,” said AASHE Executive Director Meghan Fay Zahniser. “Our field has a bright future ahead of it.”

Responses to the 48-question survey were collected from sustainability officers as well as a number of more focused sustainability positions such as recycling/waste staff and sustainable energy staff. Since 2008, AASHE has been conducting a biennial survey of higher education sustainability positions.

For more information about the survey or publication, please email

About the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education:

AASHE empowers higher education administrators, faculty, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation. AASHE enables members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders. We work with and for higher education to ensure that our world’s future leaders are motivated and equipped to solve sustainability challenges. For more information, visit Follow AASHE on Facebook and Twitter.