In the 1st part of my series on Environment, Health and Safety professionals, I looked at the reasons behind the growing demand for this skill set in the market. Today I am looking at why EHS professionals are seeking a move!
Having spoken to hundreds of EHS professionals over the years, I have heard a myriad of reasons as to why they are looking for a move. Much is down to career progression and search for new challenges but more stem from a sense of frustration with their current role. Since June this recruiter has spoken to over 50 EHS professionals across Ireland and the UK. Below is a list of the top 5 reasons they are seeking a new employer;
Travel; This can be broken down into two areas. Firstly, many EHS candidates I am speaking to are involved in a demanding daily commute of 90 minutes plus. One chap I spoke to sets his alarm for 4:45am to make it on a construction site for a 7am start. He arrives home each evening after 6pm meaning a 13 hour day and consequently a poor work life balance. The second part of travel for many EHS staff is those who are covering increasingly large geographical areas. One candidate I spoke to was covering up to 10 counties for a large pipe laying company. He was spending between 4 and 5 hours per day in his van. This sedentary existence is very bad for mental and physical health.
Administration; The demands being placed on EHS professionals with regards the production of documentation such as risk assessments, method statements, compliance plans, accident investigations, KPI reporting etc continues to grow. Many companies are not supplying sufficient administrative support meaning EHS staff are catching up on their admin in their cars on the side of the road or on their arrival home that evening.
Span of control; Due to a lack of EHS staff to meet with the operational contractual demands, many EHS professionals are having to cover too many contractors or indeed sites at one time. This is placing undue stress on the EHS teams as they fear that their inability to be on site will result in below par control of the environment. This inability to be present can result in needless risk and will ultimately affect the reputation of the EHS professional and company.
Recognition; For some companies, the existence of EHS programs and staff is considered but a necessary evil by senior management. By not promoting a culture of health and safety adherence from the top down, the EHS professional can often be found banging their heads against a wall of non-conformance and general apathy. This can result in life becoming almost impossible for the EHS professional as his or her contributions are not valued.
Terms and conditions; Despite the levels of responsibility and knowledge required to ensure compliance for companies, many EHS professionals are undervalued by their employers in terms of pay and conditions. The global recession certainly stalled average salaries for EHS professionals for a number of years but some companies have not kept up with market changes. The economic uplift over the past couple of years allied to the lack of EHS professionals means that candidates can expect increases should they look to move. The fear of the unknown that kept many in their roles during the recession is vanishing as employees are more inclined to move once more. On this last point, a word of warning. The fatter salaries on offer with some companies can come with other disadvantages……more travel, more responsibility, less support etc etc. Make sure you consider all the facts before jumping for the bigger pay check!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!