Managers working in the emerging corporate social responsibility (CSR) profession can expect to earn between £40,000 and £60,000 a year.
About 20% of the 281 practitioners surveyed took home between £60,000-£80,000 and 4% earned £120,000 or more.
An estimated 2,000 work for companies in the UK, compared with virtually none 10 years ago. One-quarter of these controlled budgets of more than £1m a year, and one-third worked in teams of more than four people.
However, the study said the CSR profession was mainly to be found in large companies with bigger reputations to protect, and the resources to tackle issues such as climate change, employee volunteering, ethical supply chain management, human rights, diversity and community involvement.
The highest priority of CSR professionals was working on environmental policies and programmes, including on climate change, cited by 32% of respondents.
Paul Burke, senior partner at Acona, said: “The fact that these people sit within their own departments and often control substantial budgets with sizeable teams suggests the corporate responsibility function in larger companies is here to stay.
“It would be wrong to claim that CSR is yet a major element of corporate activity, but it is certainly now mainstream and has become an established part of the landscape,” he said.