Industry Moves

The value of ESG credentials

There is a hiring run in Australia. Earlier this month, jobs board SEEK reported a record-high number of jobs posted to the platform, eclipsing the previous benchmark which was set just one month before. Job postings are up more than 30% compared to two years ago.

The areas experiencing the biggest growth are those that were hit hardest by the pandemic, like hospitality and tourism.

“This comeback from COVID is occurring right across Australia,” says SEEK managing director Kendra Banks. “Every state and territory had more job ads last month on seek.com.au than ever before.

“Around this time last year, the first wave of restrictions were imposed, and each state and territory was similarly impacted. Victoria was subject to stricter and longer lockdowns, so it is particularly pleasing to see it has recovered well, recording the highest percentage increase month-on-month as well as showing the highest growth since this time last year. This is a demonstration of the growing business confidence in the state and continued relaxation and removal of restrictions, particularly in the Melbourne CBD.”

As an interesting aside, applications per-ad are also at their lowest level in more than a decade, mirroring the findings of recruitment company Hays in their 2021 salary guide. While employers are optimistic, those in stable jobs seem reluctant to leave.

Banking and financial services, which were not as severely impacted by the pandemic have seen a smaller uplift in new postings than other industries. Still, there has been an increase of 13.9% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Looking at trends in hiring – particularly new roles to the market, there is a definite trend toward ESG. Kaizen Recruitment senior consultant Simon Gvalda told our partner publication, FS Sustainability, that hiring is booming.

“Many places have been looking for that crossover between ESG experience and investing experience,” Gvalda said. “It depends on the business. Some have indicated that they feel it can be easier to teach the ESG side with someone who has years of investment experience.”

One key aspect is that candidates must be able to demonstrate that they have a passion for ESG and an understanding of how ESG can be integrated in investment, Gvalda added.

“There is strong demand from super funds and fund managers who have plans either now or in the next six to 12 months to bring on additional team members, across Melbourne and Sydney broadly,” Gvalda says.

“We’ve also seen when I’ve been speaking with candidates, is that there is demand from the broader corporate world for these kind of people, including larger businesses like ASX listed companies. Those companies may not be in financial services, but they may be taking up the supply as they look to set up their own sustainability teams or ESG teams.”

The value of ESG credentials in your staff and your organisation

Talent Nation managing director Richard Evans says that the value of hiring with ESG in mind is twofold. “If you get a good sustainability person, they’re able to look at things through two lenses – a risk perspective, so they’re making decisions to keep the business out of trouble with regulators and meet compliance obligations.”

Talent Nation is a recruitment firm that specializes in sustainable and ESG hiring. Evans says that an increasing number of businesses are looking to expand in the segment because it’s something that more people along all lines of the supply chain demand. “It’s becoming a part of doing business,” says Evans. “Investors don’t want to be left with stranded assets.”

The value of ESG is also evident in employer branding. In this “war for talent”, your company needs to take steps to be someplace people want to be. “I think authenticity is really important,” says Evans. “You need to have your value proposition locked down – and you, as a business owner, need to be aware of what that proposition is as well.” Evans says this will not only help retain staff but also make you an attractive place for future talent.

“I’ve never seen the market like this,” says Evans. “There’s more activity than I’ve ever seen. Sustainability professionals are working really hard and there is a lot of interest from their organisations. People want to know they are making a difference.”

This article was originally featured on Industry Moves.