Most Millenials and Gen Z Prioritize ESG Responsibility

Millenials and Gen Z prioritize ESG responsibility when choosing prospective employers.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Millenials and Gen Z prioritize ESG responsibility when choosing prospective employers. Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The vast majority of Millenials and Gen Z prioritize ESG responsibility when choosing prospective employers.

A new survey by the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) reveals that the vast majority of Millenials and Gen Z prioritize ESG and working for socially and environmentally responsible companies. The survey, conducted among 505 British Columbians aged 18-34 who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, found that an overwhelming 87% say they prefer to work for organizations committed to robust social and environmental accountability practices.

Even more striking, the survey results show that 61% of these young respondents stated they will only work for companies that clearly and actively demonstrate responsibility and care towards both society and the environment. This uncompromising stance indicates a major cultural shift in priorities and expectations among the youngest generations entering the workforce compared to previous generations. Clearly, Gen Zs and young millennials are demanding much more from potential employers beyond just competitive pay and benefits.

See also: What the Surge in STEM Graduates Means for the Future of the Environment.

The survey provides key insights into the mindset of up-and-coming workers in British Columbia. With such a large proportion outright refusing to consider employers that don’t meet their social and environmental standards, companies will need to double down on authentic corporate social responsibility initiatives. Merely paying lip service likely won’t be enough to attract and retain top young talent from this socially conscious cohort.

While this particular survey focused on British Columbia, the trend of Gen Zs and young millennials seeking out socially and environmentally conscious employers is not isolated to this Canadian province alone. Similar sentiments have been observed among young job seekers across North America, Europe, and other regions around the world.

A 2023 study by Gallup spanning 35 countries found that over 60% of millennials said they try to have a positive impact on their communities and societies, suggesting this prioritization of values extends far beyond just employment. Major corporations and organizations globally have taken note of this generational shift, rethinking their practices around sustainability, ethical sourcing, carbon footprints, and corporate giving to attract top emerging talent.

What was once seen as a niche priority or a marketing scheme has increasingly become a baseline expectation and potential competitive advantage for employers looking to recruit digitally savvy, socially-conscious young professionals.

The findings suggest that environmental sustainability, ethical business practices, community involvement, and other such values are now prerequisites for Gen Z and millennial job seekers rather than nice-to-have extras. This sea change in expectations signals a major shift in the workforce climate that employers will need to adapt to urgently.

The findings suggest that Gen Zs and young millennials are redefining what’s important when it comes to employment. They look beyond just the job description and compensation, carefully evaluating a potential employer’s values and actions toward making a positive impact.

“We’re noticing that many younger employees are redefining what’s important about work. They look beyond a job description and have high expectations about the values and actions of their potential employer,” said Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Corporate Purpose.

The survey also revealed that 65% of young adults would work even harder for a socially and environmentally responsible company. And in a testament to how highly they value corporate responsibility, 49% said they would even take a slight pay cut to work for an employer that prioritizes positive impact.

“They’ve read our Impact Report, and they ask how they’ll contribute to purpose and make a difference. They want to make sure it’s a fit for their values,” Pettipas added, noting that younger job candidates thoroughly research a company’s commitments during the interview process.

With 62% wanting to work for companies that put corporate purpose at the center of operations, it’s clear that accountability and authentic commitment to environmental and social causes are key priorities for Gen Zs and young millennials entering the workforce.

As more companies recognize this trend and redefine their practices to meet heightened expectations for corporate responsibility, they may gain a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent from these purpose-driven generations.

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