Edited by: Julien Gervreau
Sustainability is reshaping the corporate landscape and changing how companies operate and make decisions. Integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into business strategies and operations is imperative for building a regenerative and just economy. It’s also critical for successfully attracting talent.
By 2025, an estimated 27% of the workforce will be Gen Z (people born between the late 1990s and early 2010s). This generation brings higher expectations to work on topics like work-life balance, environmental and social justice, and mental health support.
Talent scarcity is still a massive issue for most organizations. However, by leveraging sustainability practices and other social initiatives, companies can differentiate themselves and attract the post-millennial generation.
Understanding the Mindset of Gen Z
Younger generations have distinct values that influence their career choices. Having been exposed to an endless stream of news regarding the impacts of climate change and social injustice since birth, it’s not surprising they place a significant emphasis on environmental and social responsibility. Aligning these principles with their work is crucial to Gen Z as they strive for a broader sense of purpose in their careers.
Climate anxiety is highest among Gen Z, which increasingly distrusts institutions they view as having largely failed to address this crisis. They are not motivated by statements or words, but by action. It is not enough for them to work for a company who claims a commitment to sustainability and social justice; they want to see concrete evidence and are less forgiving of companies that do not follow through on their commitments.
The Appeal of Impactful Companies
From energy conservation and waste reduction to sustainable sourcing, Gen Z is looking to support companies that actively demonstrate their efforts to minimize or mitigate their environmental footprint.
Similarly, companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are highly attractive to Gen Z and younger generations. A recent poll conducted by TalentLMS revealed 77% of Gen Z individuals are interested in working for a company that prioritizes DEI. Therefore, it is crucial for companies to demonstrate their commitment to social causes, environmental sustainability, and purpose-driven work to entice the latest pool of talent.
Companies that prioritize sustainability offer more than just a job. They provide a sense of purpose by taking on important societal and environmental challenges through impactful projects. These companies also offer ample opportunities for personal growth, learning, and career advancement in sustainability-focused roles. It’s no wonder that Gen Z and new job-market entrants are drawn to these positions, as they allow individuals to make meaningful contributions while advancing their careers.
Communicating Sustainability Efforts to Gen Z
Regardless of where you are in your sustainability journey as an organization, it’s crucial to communicate these efforts effectively. Authenticity and transparency are key here. Your company’s website, job postings, and social media platforms need to show an ongoing commitment to sustainability initiatives and goals. Moreover, public sustainability reports demonstrate accountability and transparency to potential applicants and job seekers.
Your company can also share employee testimonials and stories. These highlight the fulfillment that comes from engaging in your sustainability efforts and demonstrate the importance of individual contributions to your overall success.
Utilize Collaboration and Partnerships
A valuable way to attract and retain sustainability-conscious job seekers is through partnerships with universities. Establishing an internship program that focuses specifically on your impact initiatives is a powerful way to provide hands-on experience to students and recent grads, and to attract emerging talent.
Engaging with other values-aligned organizations at industry events and conferences can also foster collaboration and help establish your company as a leader in your field. Moreover, supporting sustainability-related initiatives through sponsorships and partnerships enhances your brand reputation. Also, it helps you attract top talent by showcasing your commitment to making a positive impact on the environment and society.
Welcoming Sustainability for Talent Attraction
Overall, companies that prioritize sustainability and ESG practices gain a competitive advantage in attracting top talent, especially among Gen Z. These individuals value employers who demonstrate a genuine commitment to ethical practices and personal growth opportunities.
To attract and retain sustainability-conscious individuals, organizations should integrate sustainability into their branding and recruitment strategies, which can build a positive brand image rooted in social and environmental stewardship.
Ready to gain your competitive edge? Get in touch with our sustainability professionals to learn more about the opportunities available for your business.