One in three young workers turn down jobs due to poor ESG records

27th January 2023


A third of 18-24-year-old UK workers have turned down job offers from companies with environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments that do not align with their values.

That is according to new research from accounting giant KPMG, which said that millennials and younger workers are behind a growing trend of “climate quitting” – seeking out more environmentally friendly jobs.

It’s survey of 6,000 adult office workers, students, apprentices and those who have left higher education in the past six months, found that 46% want the company they work for to demonstrate a commitment to ESG.

Those aged 25-34 were the most likely to value ESG commitments from their employer, on 55%, but 18-24 years olds and 35-44 years olds were not far behind, on 51% and 48%, respectively.

Out of all the survey respondents, 20% said they had turned down a job because the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values

John McCalla-Leacy, head of ESG at KPMG in the UK, said: “For businesses the direction of travel is clear. By 2025, 75% of the working population will be millennials, meaning they will need to have credible plans to address ESG if they want to continue to attract and retain this growing pool of talent.”

The survey findings also show that 30% of workers have researched a company’s ESG credentials when looking for a job, rising to 45% for 18–24-year-olds. The environmental impact and living wage policies were the key areas that were sought out as part of the recruitment process.

However, younger workers aged 18-34 were most interested in fair pay commitments, cited by 45%, while those aged 35-44 were more likely to be interested in the environmental impact of the work the company does, mentioned by 45%.

One in 10 workers are actively looking for a job linked to ESG – rising to 14% among 18–24-year-olds – while two-thirds of office workers admit that there are certain industries they refuse to work in for ethical reasons.

Job seekers from any sector or background can learn more about how they can play a role in the wider green economy by visiting IEMA's Green Careers Hub.

“It is clear from recent COP27 discussions that, while some progress is being made, there is still a long way to go if we are going to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C,” McCalla-Leacy said.

“It is the younger generations that will see the greater impacts if we fail to reach this target, so it is unsurprising that this, and other interrelated ESG considerations, are front of mind for many when choosing who they will work for.”

Image credit: Unsplash

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