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Job Search in US – Over half of younger americans now consider sustainability

Guess post by Lucy Wyndham – Around 64 percent of younger jobseekers are adding another criterion to their job searches: sustainability. The days where Americans worried about being qualified for jobs are long gone. Research has shown that companies that actively practice sustainability are more sought-after in the job market. In 2018, a LinkedIn survey showed that 74 percent of employees want to work in a job where their work matters. Further, the Society of Human Resource Management found that companies that practice sustainability showed a 35 percent increase in employee loyalty and boosted employee morale by 55 percent. The tide is shifting in the recruitment world and as a result, more brands are being called upon to showcase their commitment to the environment.

Being Part Of The Sustainability Movement Creates A Source Of Pride And Belonging 

By 2016, 51 percent of U.S.-based companies had disclosed greenhouse gas reduction targets. Fast forward to 2019, 7,500 companies had issued annual sustainability reports in line with the Global Reporting Initiative. As more companies and their HR teams are making the effort to show their dedication to sustainable operations, workers want to be on the front line of it all. In their personal lives employees as consumers are leading the charge for environmentally friendly and socially responsible sellers — a demand that they are now translating into their professional lives.

In fact, Nielsen’s Global report in 2018 showed that 81% feel strongly that companies should help improve the environment and the inclusion of sustainability in business policies is no longer a wish but rather a demand. This is because 88% of them feel more fulfilled in their jobs when they feel apart of a concerted effort to tackle social and environmental issues. The heightened status that accompanies green companies has become a source of pride for its employees; everyone wants to be associated with it.

Green Companies Highlight A Key Employee Demand: Listening And Attentiveness 

Companies that have launched initiatives towards incorporating sustainability, like banning single-use plastic in their offices, highlight their willingness to listen to their consumers and, in some cases, their employees. Past research from Salesforce Research showed that employees who feel heard are 4.6 times more likely to be motivated to perform their best work. Multiple polls have highlighted just how much employees (in this case, millennials) want to work for environmentally responsible companies — so much so that almost 10 percent of workers would consider a $5,000-$6,000 pay cut. Furthermore, 75 percent of millennials claimed they would be happy to work for less if it meant working for an employer that is environmentally responsible.

Sustainable Employers Align With The Personal Values Of An Increasing Percentage Of Employees

The match a person feels with an organization has been repeatedly shown to affect their job choice. It is no secret that the younger generation is committed to sustainability. Approximately 75 percent would pay more for sustainable products and as consumers, their spending power is rising. On the work front, this also means that millennials will encompass 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, dominating the workforce’s demands when job hunting. Therefore, companies that showcase sustainable initiatives are more appealing to the personal values of a key portion of the workforce now and in the future.  A staggering 86 percent of younger employees would stay with a company longer if it demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability.

It is no longer important to just promote sustainability within the workplace or to customers. Instead, companies must move to showcase their eco-friendly initiatives throughout the recruitment process as well, beginning from their initial recruitment message. More importantly, they should be prepared to follow through on these claims as it’s become quite clear employees in today’s market place have no qualms about switching to a green company that supports its sustainability claims with actions.

Lucy Wyndham


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