Companies ramp up CSR hiring to battle climate change

CSR-related job postings have grown by 74% since 2020

Firms are increasingly serious about climate change and are creating more job roles to fight it, despite the business disruption caused by COVID-19.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) related job postings have grown by 54% since 2019, according to a new report by global recruiter Robert Walters called ‘ESG: Mindset over Must.’ The report also found that the number of postings had accelerated this year, rising by a staggering 74% since 2020.

Firms take CSR hiring seriously

A majority of CSR-related hiring in the healthcare sector occurred between 2019-2020, showing that COVID-19 did not pose a barrier and grew by an impressive 100% during this time.

This year, the Consumer Goods and Services sector is leading the way in recruiting sustainability experts, accounting for 23% of all CSR-professional vacancies.

The Energy & Utilities sector advertised 9% of all CSR-related jobs, followed by 5% from the Public Sector and 2% from Healthcare, which has increased from around 0% within the Public Sector and Energy & Utilities worlds.

Other industries, including Real Estate & Construction, Professional Services, Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT), and Financial Services, represent 19%, 13%, 11%, and 8% of CSR-vacancies this year respectively.

Companies are also hiring CSR experts for top-level roles, including the boardroom, to ensure maximum impact. According to the research, the number of senior or top-level hires has increased from 7% in 2019 to 28% of all CSR-related hires in 2021.

The number of remote CSR job postings has doubled in the past year, suggesting that firms are taking the environmental impact of the role seriously, where avoiding commuting can limit a person’s carbon footprint.

What’s driving this increase?

The growth in CSR-related job postings, especially in 2021, suggests that firms want their environmental and social impact to go beyond lip service, but what influences them to do so?

Public pressure has played a role, as discussions about the climate crisis have reached the mainstream, with activists such as Greta Thunberg and the global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion making headlines.

These awareness-raising movements have impacted consumer sentiment, where most customers, including the younger market, want to engage with socially and environmentally responsible businesses. Research also shows that investors are becoming more impact-minded and increasingly expect ingrained sustainability in the businesses in which they invest.

These factors have likely influenced the growing desire for CSR talent among firms, evidenced by Robert Walters’ finding that May 2021 was the second-busiest CSR recruitment drive on record.

The climate change conference COP26 has also had an impact this year. Some of the UK’s most successful businesses, including over half of the FTSE 100, have now committed to eliminating their fossil fuel emissions by 2050. Nearly half of these firms already link executive pay and bonus structures to environmental, social and governance (ESG) measures, further evidencing their commitment to change.

Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters UK, said: “Right now, businesses are under more scrutiny than ever. Processes, suppliers, materials, and policies often have more of an impact on consumer actions than a finished product. As governments strive to achieve environmental targets, and the choice widens for customers on socially-conscious products and services – ESG will increasingly become more critical for survival, and not just for investment.”

Craig Howells, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters, added: “Some thought that in a global crisis, ESG targets would be the first to go. However, many companies strengthened their commitment to ESG during the pandemic. The suggestion also that people would care more about jobs and rocketing government debt over, for example, more socially conscious behaviour, appears misplaced.”

Daniel O’Leary, Business Director at Robert Walters, commented: “Businesses which are failing to meet the expected ESG performance standards should expect to see a knock-on impact on their reputation. As a workforce strategy, ESG has become a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent; numerous studies have shown that, when weighing up potential employers, millennials are hugely influenced by how a business responds to and tackles social issues.”

Robert Walters defines ESG roles by the following responsibilities as displayed in job adverts:

  • Developing policies relating to a company’s ethical, sustainable, and environmental responsibilities.
  • Ensuring a company has a positive impact on local communities and the environment.
  • Raising public awareness of a company’s social responsibility commitments through marketing and communications.
  • Conducting research into best practice.
  • Writing and actioning a company’s social responsibility and sustainability strategy.
  • Creating meaningful partnerships with clients, employees, suppliers, charities, and other groups.
  • Ensuring that a company’s policies meet legal and commercial needs.
  • Organising meaningful events for employees and their teams.
  • Encouraging links between the company and educational or charitable groups.
  • Reporting on social responsibility activity to senior managers and/or board.

To read the Robert Walters report in full, please click here.

In this article, you learned that:

  • The number of CSR-related job postings has risen by 74% since 2020.
  • Consumer Goods and Services account for 23% of all CSR-professional vacancies this year.
  • Nearly half of FTSE 100 firms already link executive pay and bonus structures to ESG measures.

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