Concerns growing over employers' green credentials

A growing number of white-collar professionals say they would turn down a job at a company that did not have climate sustainability policy that matched their own environmental ambitions, according to new research.

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A global survey conducted among more than 7,000 professionals in 20 countries found that employers' environmental policies had become more important than a firm's stance on politics or social affairs.

Generation Z and Baby Boomers: climate concerns

The survey, timed to coincide with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, was conducted by global recruiters Robert Walters. It found that 34% of professionals in the UK would reject a job offer from an organisation with poor environmental credentials.Climate concerns were most evident at opposite ends of the age spectrum with about half of those classed as Generation Z (roughly those aged 18-24) and those classed as baby boomers (roughly those aged 55-73) saying they were most concerned about an employer’s green credentials.On the other hand, millennials placed mental health, workers’ rights, equal pay, and diversity and inclusion above their concerns over the environment.
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In fact, the UK ranked only 13th when it came to nations where a professional would base his or her future employment on a company's sustainability agenda. In France, Chile and Switzerland, more than half of respondents said they would reject employment with a firm where its green ambitions did not match their own.

ESG:  a competitive hiring advantage 

Chris Poole, managing director of Robert Walters UK said: “We have certainly entered a new era of recruiting – whilst all the normal questions still do get asked around pay, benefits, training and career paths, increasingly we get asked: ‘What does X company stand for?’.“When offered a potential new role; job searchers are quick to jump onto a firms social media handles, their ‘about us’ page, and most importantly Googling latest news articles aligned to the company.“Employers failing to improve on their sustainability credentials should expect to see a knock-on impact to their hiring. With their being so many avenues to being environmentally conscious as an employer there simply isn’t much room to ignore the matter."Mr Poole said that, as a workforce strategy, ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) had become a competitive advantage when it came to attracting and retaining talent.“In fact," he added, "numerous studies by Robert Walters have shown that, when weighing up potential employers, millennials are hugely influenced by how a business responds to and tackles social issues.“With millennials making up the largest part of leadership roles, they will be doing a great deal to stay in tune with employees’ concerns. And from the recent Extinction Rebellion protests, the UN Climate Change Report, statements from high profile celebrities, royals and politicians, and COP26, it seems environment will remain the topic of discussion amongst employees for some time.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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