How much does a Head of Sustainability earn?

Our aim when researching and producing the Environment and Sustainability Remuneration Report was to fill a gap in the market that we found to exist around robust remuneration data. Over the coming months we will be profiling each role contained within the report and you can read the full Executive Summary here. To enable us to produce the report we collected information from over 200 companies with 412 distinct data sets provided across eight different roles . This data has come from a variety of industries and locations, across both Australia and New Zealand.

Remuneration for a Head of Sustainability

For a Head of Sustainability, the survey showed that the average Total Remuneration (TR) paid at this level across Australia was $314,159, made up of an average Total Fixed Remuneration (TFR) of $253,890 and an average Short Term Incentive (STI) of 21% paid out of a possible 29.8%. Long Term Incentives were only offered to a small number of respondents surveyed at this level; however those offered were significant in value.

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Head of Sustainability – Gender

All other roles surveyed in the Sustainability sector had a higher ratio of females to males however the Head of Sustainability position was held by more males than females. The top 3 salaries at this level among those surveyed were female and, across all roles females are remunerated 2.3% higher than their male counterparts.

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Head of Sustainability – Location and Sector

With most major Head Office’s located in Sydney, salaries for Heads of Sustainability are significantly higher in New South Wales than in Victoria. At the top of the salary packages are those working in Mining and Metals, with Industrials and Materials the bottom of the range with below average remuneration.

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Head of Sustainability – ASX vs Non ASX Listed

ASX listed entities remunerate at a significantly higher level (+12%) than private or non-listed entities.

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What does this mean?

Even during times of COVID we are finding that the demand for highly skilled Heads of Sustainability is unwavering. Everyone was caught unaware with the outbreak of the pandemic however with the advent of Modern Slavery Legislation in Australia, and an increased focus from investors on Climate risk, there is no excuse for being unprepared in these areas.

The role of the Head of Sustainability has clearly evolved over the last decade with these individuals now accountable for sizable teams, budgets and with a direct line to the Executive and boardroom.

What does a Head of Sustainability do?

The Head of Sustainability is responsible for Sustainability Strategy, Risk, Governance, and Reporting, engaging at Board and C-level, as well as across the organisation, to ensure sustainability leadership and alignment of these areas to the overarching business strategy and direction

Required skills and experience

  • A university degree or equivalent is essential with post graduate studies desirable.
  • 10+ years of experience in a professional sustainability environment.
  • Progressive experience in Sustainability leadership roles.
  • Extensive knowledge of sustainability performance measures, global practices, and emerging issues.
  • Engagement with the investment community including ESG analysts, fund managers and institutional investors.
  • Management & leadership experience.
  • Ability to build personal and organisational credibility and build beneficial internal and external relationships

Beyond the Resume

To attract and retain a Head of Sustainability that can deliver the right outcome for your organisation you need to understand where you are in your journey. With increased scrutiny from government, investors, and employees you cannot pay lip service to these roles. The intensity of these roles has increased over the years; but fortunately, so has the capability of the individuals that are in them.

The area is evolving rapidly so how do you know who is capable, and who is not? It is still an emerging area and as the only recruitment firm to specialise in this area across Australia and New Zealand; we have the connections, and experience, to know what to look for so that the candidate you hire is the right person for your organisation.

The best and most reliable way to hire the talent you need is through a robust and high-quality network. A referral from a trusted source within your network is going to carry more weight than a myriad of qualifications and the most impressive work experience on paper. Through our years of experience of placing people into these roles, the very best Heads of Sustainability are those that have a deep understanding of the interconnections between business and sustainability. People like this often aren’t actively searching for roles, but given the right opportunity at a company that fits, can be motivated to move (if the conditions are right).

Talent Nation has been at the forefront of the Sustainability industry for 10 years. As Australia’s only specialist Environment & Sustainability recruitment agency, we have are passionate about connecting purpose-driven people with purpose roles and companies within Australia and New Zealand. This article provides information of a general nature across a number of sectors, however we are more than happy to give more specific advice relevant to individual or company circumstances. For a detailed discussion on how we can help, contact us on 03 9600 0115.

Celebrating 5 years of championing sustainability knowledge

The Australian Supply Chain Sustainability School (the School) is celebrating its five-year anniversary and this milestone is an opportunity to reflect on how far not only the School has come, but also our industry.

School CEO, Hayley Jarick says that “organisations are leading the charge to a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable future in the ‘decade of change’. And they know that the only way to make a difference is to act collectively and enable their partners to act.”

Sustainability knowledge has moved from being niche to an operational imperative and the School has come into its own and is well placed to meet growing industry demand. “There is a lot of opinion readily available and expert information is becoming harder and harder to decipher through the noise. The School cuts out the noise and provides our members a free learning platform about the topics that matter in our industry,” says Jarick.

Since the School launched in 2015, it has grown steadily from just 8 founding Partners, 200 Members and 10 learning modules. Now, the School boasts 30 Partners, 1,684 Member companies, 2,698 registered users and there have been over 4,300 learning resource views. In addition to these key growth areas, the School has succeeded in:

  1. Developing an online self-assessment tool for businesses to rate their knowledge and develop a custom sustainability learning program. 
  2. Making sustainability training accessible to regional Australia (anywhere with internet). 
  3. Created informative, relevant resources by industry for industry.  
  4. Meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #17: Partnerships grew from…
  5. Launching a new website, that meets digital best practice from its user experience to learning management system capabilities. 

Jarick is proud of the evolution of the School so far and says that “it’s been a privilege to be connected to the School since it launched five years ago, wearing a few different hats along the way. I am fortunate to be the latest in a line of leaders that have lifted the School up over this time.  I was excited to launch the new website last December with a stack of new functionality for Members and Partners but my proudest moment has been speaking with new Members after Partner supplier workshops and seeing so many new faces join the cohort of companies bettering the industry.” 

She continues, saying that becoming a Member “gives you the resources you need to better your company but organisations that are looking to lead the industry should become Partners. We have a range of Partner categories to suit all types of organisations and their needs.  Our Partners enjoy developing resources, events, workshops, personalised School landing pages, managing their priority supplier’s learning, managing project learning, attending exclusive events, as well as showcasing their successes through the School’s channels.”  

Laing O’Rourke can attest to the benefits of Partnering with the School, saying that “the School’s work to help upskill and support the supply chain on sustainability has made a real positive difference to our business and the industry. The resources and collaborative learning environment the School has set-up has and will continue to play an important role to promote and influence the right skills, services and products to match the sustainability needs on our projects.” 

The School has many long-standing supporters who have been pivotal to the School’s continued success such as Founding Partner, Downer Group. Ricky Bridge, Downer’s Group General Manager – Sustainability, Reporting and Data Analytics, says that this “milestone marks five remarkable years of being the ‘go to’ innovative online platform for our contractors and suppliers to engage in education and knowledge on sustainability related issues and better equip the supply chain for future success.” 

Robin Mellon, CEO of Better Sydney, reflected that “it’s been amazing to see the School’s trajectory over the past five years – three of which I spent as the School’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer – and how the team is working with more partners, more projects, more topics, more governments and not-for-profits, and more learning resources than ever before.” 

So, what is on the horizon for the sustainability industry and how will the School continue to adapt to the needs of the market? Jarick says that “a lot of people in the sustainability field come from an environmental perspective with a tremendous ability to influence people with a like-minded desire to take care of the planet. We are seeing a trend for broader social and economic sustainability to be incorporated into this mix which had brought with it challenges and benefits. 

For instance, people are taking on board the intent of the Modern Slavery Act and changing their management approach of those who don’t initially comply with sustainability goals. Instead of blacklisting and avoiding non-complying companies, now the trend is to use your position of influence to work with others towards compliance. This is transformational for the industry and means that many in the industry will need to learn or refresh their emotional intelligence and conflict management skills.” 

Jarick states that “the School is constantly evolving to changes and future needs. We are evolving the types of resources we have, to cater for changes in how people want to learn. We are adding new resources every month and reviewing old resources to ensure our catalogue only contains the best resources. We are also looking to expand the School in new markets, so watch this space.”   

For more information, please contact:  

Hayley Jarick, Chief Executive Officer
Supply Chain Sustainability School  
E: ceo@supplychainschool.org.au 

How much does an Environment Manager earn?

Our aim when researching and producing the Environment and Sustainability Remuneration Report was to fill a gap in the market that we found to exist around robust remuneration data. Over the coming months we will be profiling each role contained within the report and you can read the full Executive Summary here. To enable us to produce the report we collected information from over 200 companies with 412 distinct data sets provided across eight different roles . This data has come from a variety of industries and locations, across both Australia and New Zealand.  

What should an Environment Manager job description look like?

The role of an Environment Manager is pivotal in any modern organisation, with their main remit to ensure that a business commits to an agenda that will lead to a secure future. This multi-faceted role involves working to achieve the most efficient use of resources, de-risking the business from an environmental perspective and voluntary and mandatory industry-wide reporting.

In the wake of the Australian bushfires, there is an increased focus on climate change, and the role this plays in such devastating events. How Australian corporations can work to address the effects of climate change falls largely into the remit of Environment Managers, and this renewed focus has driven an increase in interest in the role. With the role being an unusual and varied one, finding the right person for the role can be an interesting challenge. The role is, above all, tasked with helping a company uphold environmental standards and take steps towards a greener future. It is a role that will appeal to someone who wants to make a real difference to the way an organisation affects the environment and help them implement strategies that reduce ecological damage and promote long-term sustainability

What Skills Should Hiring Managers Look For?

The skills an Environment Manager requires are varied. They are required to work across many different functions, from managing a budget, to liaising with cross functional stakeholders to develop and promote an environmental strategy, and communicating plans to directors, colleagues, stakeholders, vendors and customers. An Environment Manager holds an important and increasingly visible role in any organisation that is required to manage and reduce waste and promote ecological sustainability. As this is increasingly on the forefront of the Australian consumer’s mind, any business who is not seen to be taking these practices seriously, and have a strong and visible plan in place, risks suffering significant losses.

To attract the right candidate to an Environment Manager position, a hiring manager must understand everything the role entails. Of course, the role must then be positioned with the right package to ensure strong candidates are attracted to the role.

Remuneration for a Environment Manager

After surveying over 200 companies, our research has shown that the average Total Remuneration (TR) package paid for an Environment Manager was $186,662, made up of an average Total Fixed Remuneration (TFR) of $173,079, and a Short-Term Incentive (STI) of 8.2% paid out from a possible 11.7% average potential bonus. The majority (81%) of respondents were eligible for Short Term Incentives; while Long Term Incentives are rare at this level.

Environment Manager – Gender

Nearly twice the number of females vs males hold the Environment Manager position in Australia. Total Fixed Remuneration is nearly on par, with males receiving slightly higher bonuses (including Long Term Incentives) and therefore a higher overall package.

Environment Manager – Location and Sector

Environment Managers in Queensland are paid well above the national average (driven by the Mining and Metals sector), with New South Wales and Victoria significantly lower. Mining and Metals along with Utilities and Energy sit well above the national average at this level.

Environment Manager – ASX vs Non ASX Listed

ASX listed entities are remunerated at a lower level than private or non-listed entities by nearly 7%.

What does this mean?

To attract a skilled and qualified Environment Manager, the package depends on the sector, but generally it should comprise a base salary in the ballpark of $186,000, with a short-term incentive of ~11% in place, the component paid dependent on business and individual performance.

Beyond the Resume

To attract and retain an Environment Manager who not only has the required skillset but also the passion for the role, it’s important to delve deeper than a CV. What you can learn about a candidate on paper, or even in an interview situation, is limited- often you don’t know who you’ve really hired and how they really fit until they’re a few weeks or months into the role.

The best and most reliable way to hire the talent you need is through a robust and high quality network. A referral from a trusted source within your network is going to carry more weight than a myriad of qualifications and the most impressive work experience on paper. In our experience, the very best Environment Managers are those who not only have the skills but have a passion and desire that the work they do truly makes the world around them a better place. This plays out not only in the workplace, but in their personal life and with every interaction they have. People like this often aren’t actively searching for roles, but given the right opportunity at a company that fits, can be motivated to move (if the conditions are right).

Talent Nation has recruited within the Environment industry for the past decade. As one of Australia’s only specialised Environment & Sustainability recruitment agencies, we are passionate about connecting purpose-driven people with purpose roles and companies within Australia and New Zealand. This report provides information of a general nature across a number of sectors, however we are more than happy to give more specific advice relevant to individual or company circumstances. For a detailed discussion on how we can help, contact us on  +61 3 9600 0115.

How much does a Sustainability Manager earn?

Our aim when researching and producing the Environment and Sustainability Remuneration Report was to fill a gap in the market that we found to exist around robust remuneration data. Over the coming months we will be profiling each role contained within the report and you can read the full Executive Summary here. To enable us to produce the report we collected information from over 200 companies with 412 distinct data sets provided across eight different roles . This data has come from a variety of industries and locations, across both Australia and New Zealand.  

What should a Sustainability Manager job description look like?

Responsible for the development, management and implementation of an organisation’s sustainability strategy and agenda, a Sustainability Manager’s role is pivotal in understanding how an organisation has an impact on the world around them through business practice. This can be in terms of an organisation’s impact on the environment, resource consumption, supply chain practices, community engagement, employee engagement and the impact of their business practices or products and services in general.

The Sustainability Manager is also involved in technical support, education and business development, ensuring sustainability is integrated seamlessly into all elements. They play a crucial role in driving consistency and transparency, ensuring the organisation’s core sustainability commitments are maintained and ultimately exceeded.

What Skills Should Hiring Managers Look For?

Qualifications

  • A university degree or equivalent is essential with post graduate studies desirable.

Industry experience

  • 7-10+ years of experience in a professional sustainability environment.
  • Previous experience and active participation in various sustainability programs.
  • Experience managing projects in challenging and sometimes national or global scale environments
  • Management & leadership experience.

Skills and knowledge

  • A strong and up to date theoretical understanding of sustainability.
  • Strong data management, budgeting and sustainability reporting skills
  • Ability to build personal and organisational credibility and build beneficial internal and external relationships.
  • Ability to manage external contractors to meet deadlines and goals
  • Ambitious with a high level of energy and commitment
  • Decision maker and solutions oriented
  • Able to adapt quickly to changes
  • Excellent written, verbal communication and influencing skills
  • Sustainability reporting bodies and indexes

Remuneration for a Sustainability Manager

 After surveying over 200 companies, our research has shown that the average Total Remuneration (TR) package paid for an Environment Manager was $180,856, made up of an average Total Fixed Remuneration (TFR) of $163,526, and a Short-Term Incentive (STI) of 11.2% paid out from a possible 17.4% average potential bonus. A small proportion of respondents were eligible for Short Term Incentives; while Long Term Incentives are rare at this level.

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Sustainability Manager – Gender

Although the female to male ratio of respondents at a Sustainability Manager level was 2:1, males on average command slightly (2.8%) higher salaries than their female counterparts.

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Sustainability Manager – Location and Sector

Packages for Sustainability Managers in the Finance Sector (driven by those located in New South Wales) are on average significantly (19%) higher than other sectors, with Mining and Metals 3% above the average TR. All other sector’s packages are clustered closer together, with Real Estate paying slightly below the average salary followed by Industrials and Materials, then Consumer Discretionary and Staples. Government, Education and NFP’s paying 9.3% below the average.

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Sustainability Manager – ASX vs Non ASX Listed

ASX listed entities remunerate at a significantly higher level (+20%) than private or non-listed entities.

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What does this mean?

To attract a skilled and qualified Sustainability Manager, the package depends on the sector, but generally it should comprise a base salary in the ballpark of $180,856, with a short-term incentive of ~11.2% in place, the component paid dependent on business and individual performance.

Beyond the Resume

To attract and retain a Sustainability Manager who not only has the required skillset but also the passion for the role, it’s important to delve deeper than a CV. What you can learn about a candidate on paper, or even in an interview situation, is limited- often you don’t know who you’ve really hired and how they really fit until they’re a few weeks or months into the role.

The best and most reliable way to hire the talent you need is through a robust and high quality network. A referral from a trusted source within your network is going to carry more weight than a myriad of qualifications and the most impressive work experience on paper. In our experience, the very best Sustainability Managers are those who not only have the skills but have a passion and desire that the work they do truly makes the world around them a better place. This plays out not only in the workplace, but in their personal life and with every interaction they have. People like this often aren’t actively searching for roles, but given the right opportunity at a company that fits, can be motivated to move (if the conditions are right).

The team at Talent Nation has over 15 years’ experience in placing Sustainability Managers into organisations within Australian and New Zealand, and are happy to work with you to structure the right package to ensure you attract the people who will really drive your sustainability plans forward. We want to work with our clients to ensure you are having a positive impact on the world around you; to work towards a better future for all.

Talent Nation has recruited within the Sustainability industry for over 15 years. As one of Australia’s only specialised Environment & Sustainability recruitment agencies, we are passionate about connecting purpose-driven people with purpose roles and companies within Australia and New Zealand. This report provides information of a general nature across a number of sectors, however we are more than happy to give more specific advice relevant to individual or company circumstances. For a detailed discussion on how we can help, contact us on  +61 3 9600 0115.

The Modern Slavery Bill: What is the latest?

On 1 January 2019, the Modern Slavery Act commenced, an Act that requires a new statutory modern slavery reporting requirement for larger companies operating in Australia.

Now is the time to start preparing the information required for the first report, which is due either later this year or mid next year, depending on your financial reporting period.

Review the reporting periods here.

There is still time to allow you to ensure you have the right people in place to understand and rigorously scrutinise all aspects of a Supply Chain. It allows all levels of the business to familiarise themselves with the reporting requirements and ensure there are processes in place to fulfil these requirements.

For those for whom Modern Slavery is already a concern, the delay for this Act to come into play is no doubt frustrating. Bringing transparency and rigour to Australian business’s approach to Modern Slavery is the first step to ensuring all Australian products have been made and sourced in a way that does not exploit any vulnerable human.

The introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill is a major stepping stone for Australia in terms of stamping out human exploitation that, too often, is hidden in plain sight. The Bill seeks to cover the activities of both private and public-sector organisations with annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million (businesses with less than $100m revenue can opt to report voluntarily); requiring that they publish a report every financial year in conjunction with modern slavery regulations. The reporting requirements are as follows:

  1. the identity of the reporting company;
  2. the structure, operations and supply chains of the company;
  3. the risks of modern slavery practices in the operations and supply chains of the reporting entity, and any entities that the reporting entity owns or controls;
  4. the actions taken by the reporting entity and any entity that the reporting entity owns or controls, to asses and address those risks;
  5. how the reporting entity assesses the effectiveness of such actions;
  6. the process of consultation with any entities the reporting entity owns or controls or is issuing a joint modern slavery statement with; and
  7. any other information that the reporting entity, or the entity giving the statement, considers relevant.

The goal of this report is to force these businesses to scrutinise their supply chain to identify the risk of modern slavery, and outline what they are doing to address these risks. To ensure high-level engagement, the statement has to be approved by the board of directors or equivalent and signed by a director.

So, why is this so important?

The Walk Free Foundation, the publishing organisation of the Global Slavery Index, estimates that on any given day in 2016, 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery. Of these people, 24.9 million were in forced labour and 15.4 million were in forced marriages. Even more shockingly, 1 in 4 of these victims were children. The majority of countries have laws against modern slavery, but few governments have sought to hold businesses accountable.

As stated by The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, the purpose of the bill is to “to encourage identification and disclosure of instances of modern slavery, and to clean up supply chains.” Increasing pressure from Government, as well as expectations from employees and customers around corporate social responsibility, is creating changes in the way many do business. By requiring organisations to report each year; identifying the risks in their supply chains, as well as highlighting the due-diligence processes they have in place to assist them in tackling modern slavery, the idea is that negative attention will be drawn to companies who are slacking on their social responsibilities.

By making information such as this public, it is anticipated that customers will hold their suppliers accountable for the entirety of their operations; requiring that they demonstrate that they are not engaging in unethical practices. The modern consumer no longer simply wants the most inexpensive option, they want their dollar to go further and create positive social and environmental impact. This shift, coupled with reporting regulations of the new Bill, will create transparency in companies that may have previously had none; raising expectations of what constitutes ‘good business.’ By creating a new benchmark for success, organisations must willingly demonstrate the integrity of their operations and can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to the darker corners of their supply chains.

Dr Jennifer Burns, the Director of Anti-Slavery Australia at the University of Technology, Sydney, states that slavery is common in Australia’s labour force, particularly within “hospitality, construction and agriculture”. The Supply Chain Sustainability School, functioning both here in Australia and in the UK, is an organisation seeking to target modern slavery in the construction sector. They acknowledge that, while the estimated number of people living in modern slavery conditions in Australia is lower than many other countries, the majority of our supply chains lead directly to the Asia Pacific region, where roughly 30 million people are subject to human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage.

The purpose of the School is to combat businesses engaging with these illegal and inhuman practices by increasing sustainability knowledge and competency along the construction and infrastructure supply chains. If you’d like to get involved, well we’ve got good news for you! We’re currently hiring a Partner Engagement Manager to help the Supply Chain Sustainability School achieve financial and strategic growth, to assist with their mission of creating a greener, more sustainable construction sector.

Overall, this new commitment to stamping out modern slavery practices will not only help protect the world’s most vulnerable, but raise the bar when it comes to defining corporate success. By acknowledging the importance of this human rights issue, change can be adopted right now to provide every individual with freedom as a basic right. 

Partial Search.

The Search for Purpose- the Recruiting Challenge

Matching people to roles in the recruitment industry is not too much of a challenge. Finding people driven by purpose with the right skills and motivation to stay a while, however, is where those tasked with recruiting require a whole other level of connection, expertise and experience.  Especially challenging is when people are looking to transition from mainstream to a more purpose-oriented career. They could have the right skillset, feel passionate about the business and its mission, but find the transition comes with a discount on earnings (it usually does), which can be a tough pill to swallow. Oftentimes there is a belief that the move to more purpose-driven work will bring with it an end to those bad days in the office surely everyone will be so energised and motivated by the contribution they’re making to the world everyone will absolutely love coming to work!?! The reality is, these roles have the same challenges as corporate roles budget pressures (big asks with little money), operational complexities and personality clashes, so candidateneed to be screened thoroughly for everything from experience to motivation to expectations 

Employing someone who really believes in what they are doing and is happy to show up to work every day is invariably a better situation than someone who drags their feet, calls in sick and needs to be constantly monitored in order for them to meet deadlines– of this there is no doubt.  There is, however, also evidence that finding purpose-oriented people can have a significant impact on profit, job satisfaction and employee tenureRecruiting people with a mindset that is aligned to the values of the organisation helps to really embed their purpose into their DNA, so that everyone working there lives it, it is evident in every project, every email and every activity the firm participates in (rather than it being a dot point on a PowerPoint presentation or a feature of a marketing campaign communicated once and never spoken of again). 

But how do you find these people? 

Not just a network

We know the positive impact purpose can have on an organisation, and how aligning purpose-oriented individuals with purpose-oriented businesses can spark joy, improve business performance and enhance job satisfaction. Plus working with like-minded people can make the whole vibe at work more enjoyable. But where are these people hidingFinding candidates for whom purpose brings a sense of fulfilment comes down to having an extensive, rich and diverse network to tap into and knowing how to continuously build this networkOne of the trickiest aspects of the search is the fact that more often than not, these people won’t be actively looking for a new position. The best people are found from building a network of people identified as purpose-driven through people you know, or through everyday interactions- conversations in the coffee shop, friends of friends who speak in terms that trigger the recognition of like-minded individuals. In other words, not just CV’s sent via email or a brief conversation over the phone. They may not be looking, they may never be looking, but keeping them on the radar and touching base from time to time opens you up to people they know who may share the same way of thinking and in fact be the right person for the role you’re looking to fill. There is a real purpose-driven community out there, it’s just a matter of knowing where to find them.  

Look beyond skillset

Look beyond skills and experience when it comes to a candidate search. A candidate might be interested who is qualified but doesn’t have the specific experience the hiring manager is after. But if you dig a bit deeper you might find out this person has great experience working with smaller budgets, resilience when faced with knock backs and obstacles, and is great at finding innovative ways of getting things done. You wouldn’t realise any of these valuable attributes by looking at a CV or limiting your search to people who fit a strict criterionHaving even the largest network is not enough- it’s also about knowing each person’s story and what they can bring to a role beyond technical skills. That’s the secret to unearthing the hidden gems.  

Purpose-driven people working in roles they are passionate about is like adding accelerator to a small flame. The right chemistry (personality, workstyle and culture) can ignite something very special. There is no easy way to attract these individuals, retain them for longer, all the while meeting your profit and shareholder expectations. It’s like a big jigsaw puzzle with very human parts. You need the network, but not just any network. You need to know the stories of the people in your consideration set (or perhaps you need to re-think your consideration set)– to discover the things about them that just wont come across in a CV, but will make them an amazing asset to your team. Someone who can truly drive your agenda forward, oftentimes even more than the most qualified, experienced individual. 

The “Career Myth”: Is it holding us back?

Many people believe that their careers will follow a linear path, that they will advance up the career ladder incrementally. They may even think that they’ll stay in the same company for the duration of their careers, slowly moving their way up in line with pay raises and title changes. This concept is known as the “career myth” and is now seen by some to be an outdated way to career advancement. According to Fortune Magazine, it is now common for careers to instead develop in a “zig zag” formation, meaning you may find yourself moving in a different career direction, rather than just climbing upwards. Psychology researcher Tania Luna and Weight Watchers International executive Jordan Cohen also believe that in today’s job market the “career myth” is unrealistic and is in fact penalising career progression. They believe that “being overly attached to a specific path can turn into a career trap — blinding us to nonlinear opportunities for growth.” Instead, they recommend embracing uncertainty by considering changing roles or moving industries, without a final destination in mind.

Mitch Joel, founder of Six Pixels Group, inspirational speaker, and a marketing and communications visionary, sees career change as a great opportunity. With flexibility now seen to be a central feature to professional development, Mitch encourages people to take on a challenge within their organisation, to work with a new department, or to change something within their business that is outdated.

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Making a career change can be daunting and risky for some, as it can come with uncertainty, however it can also be really rewarding.

Are you looking for that next move?

If so, here are some tips to help you take the leap of faith:

  • Ask yourself, “what do I want from my career?”. It’s important you’ve sat with this idea before you even begin the search process.
  • Research the industry you are interested in. Make sure you know the ins and outs and areas within the industry you could target.
  • Talk to insiders and network. Get advice from people in the industry, get the inside scoop into how the industry operates.
  • Keen for a change but are still interested in your industry – consider a safer sideways step, but one that is still in the right direction.

 

If you’re considering a change and would like more information about potential opportunities, check out the jobs section of our website for some fresh ideas in environment and sustainability careers, or contact us to discuss your future prospects. Also, if you aren’t already, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn to stay up to date with all the latest roles and industry discussions.

 

Source: Business Insider

The Modern Slavery Bill: What are the implications for businesses?

The introduction of the NSW Modern Slavery Bill is a major stepping stone for Australia in terms of stamping out human exploitation that, too often, is hidden in plain sight. The Bill seeks to cover the activities of both private and public-sector organisations with annual consolidated revenue of more than $100 million; requiring that they publish a report every financial year in conjunction with modern slavery regulations. It is still yet to be determined what this statement must include, but no doubt will require businesses to adopt a higher level of transparency when it comes to their sourcing and production methods.

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So, why is this so important?

The Walk Free Foundation, the publishing organisation of the Global Slavery Index, estimates that on any given day in 2016, 40.3 million people were victims of modern slavery. Of these people, 24.9 million were in forced labour and 15.4 million were in forced marriages. Even more shockingly, 1 in 4 of these victims were children. The majority of countries have laws against modern slavery, but few governments have sought to hold businesses accountable.

As stated by The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, the purpose of the bill is to “to encourage identification and disclosure of instances of modern slavery, and to clean up supply chains.” Increasing pressure from Government, as well as expectations from employees and customers around corporate social responsibility, is creating changes in the way many do business. By requiring organisations to report each year; identifying the risks in their supply chains, as well as highlighting the due-diligence processes they have in place to assist them in tackling modern slavery, the idea is that negative attention will be drawn to companies who are slacking on their social responsibilities.

By making information such as this public, it is anticipated that customers will hold their suppliers accountable for the entirety of their operations; requiring that they demonstrate that they are not engaging in unethical practices. The modern consumer no longer simply wants the most inexpensive option, they want their dollar to go further and create positive social and environmental impact. This shift, coupled with reporting regulations of the new Bill, will create transparency in companies that may have previously had none; raising expectations of what constitutes ‘good business.’ By creating a new benchmark for success, organisations must willingly demonstrate the integrity of their operations and can no longer plead ignorance when it comes to the darker corners of their supply chains.

Dr Jennifer Burns, the Director of Anti-Slavery Australia at the University of Technology, Sydney, states that slavery is common in Australia’s labour force, particularly within “hospitality, construction and agriculture”. The Supply Chain Sustainability School, functioning both here in Australia and in the UK, is an organisation seeking to target modern slavery in the construction sector. They acknowledge that, while the estimated number of people living in modern slavery conditions in Australia is lower than many other countries, the majority of our supply chains lead directly to the Asia Pacific region, where roughly 30 million people are subject to human trafficking, forced labour and debt bondage.

The purpose of the School is to combat businesses engaging with these illegal and inhuman practices by increasing sustainability knowledge and competency along the construction and infrastructure supply chains. If you’d like to get involved, well we’ve got good news for you! We’re currently hiring a Partner Engagement Manager to help the Supply Chain Sustainability School achieve financial and strategic growth, to assist with their mission of creating a greener, more sustainable construction sector.

Overall, this new commitment to stamping out modern slavery practices will not only help protect the world’s most vulnerable, but raise the bar when it comes to defining corporate success. By acknowledging the importance of this human rights issue, change can be adopted right now to provide every individual with freedom as a basic right. 

Building Resilience: Remaining Positive in the Face of Adversity

Considering the messages we are faced with on a daily basis from the media about the shape of the world, it’s not surprising that many people are finding it hard to maintain a positive attitude looking forward. Every day new issues are emerging on the horizon of our social, economic, environmental and political landscapes, which can prove overwhelming for individuals or organisations trying to figure out where to focus their efforts. In the case of sustainability or social impact professionals, tackling these issues is all part of a typical day’s work. So, how do you build emotional resilience when you’re constantly faced with adversity?

Optimism is what helps us get out of bed in the morning. I’m sure a large majority of people have heard the cliché “change your thoughts to change your world,” at some point in time – but the value of this statement shouldn’t be dismissed. In fact, changing your internal dialogue not only has the potential to affect your inner reality, but build the foundations for creating positive impact externally.

Hugh van Cuylenburg, founder of The Resilience Project, spent several months volunteering in India’s far north; an experience which would lead him to make a fascinating discovery. Despite the fact that the people in the community had no running water, no beds, no electricity and nothing but a hut to sleep in, they were all incredibly happy.

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Streets of Agra, photo by Unsplash

Paradoxically life in Western society, one with immediate access to almost everything at our fingertips, is increasingly proven to foster loneliness and depression; Hugh citing that 1 in 4 adolescents experience mental health issues.

So, why exactly is there such a stark contrast in wellbeing between these two communities? Postgraduate studies led Hugh to the conclusion that there is a crucial element missing from our modern societies – resilience; the building blocks of which consist of gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.

When it comes to leadership, resilience is a key quality for success, particularly in the sustainability sector. The best leaders know that you cannot change the unchangeable, and that their energy is best directed looking forward in order to improve a current situation, whatever it may be. Shifting away from a negative mindset, even in our personal lives, helps to add value as we begin to look at every instance with the potential for personal growth. A key element to building this resilience is strong internal motivators. When these motivators centre around positive social, environmental or economic outcomes, it becomes possible to start building a better world for ourselves and our children.

While the challenges that we face as a society can bring unmeasurable consequences, the efforts of humanity so far shouldn’t go unnoticed. As Andres Edwards in Thriving Beyond Sustainability notes “the greening of college campuses, the explosion of farmers’ markets and organic foods, the innovative green building standards, the push for renewable energy sources and the new green-collar jobs all point to a new economy.” The collective efforts of those pushing for systemic change is creating a ripple effect, a perfect example of this being the B Corporation Certification Movement –  a non-profit organisation seeking to leverage a business’ positive impact alongside profit.

Ultimately, by taking any anxieties we hold over an uncertain future and shifting them towards a positive and hopeful mindset, humanity can capture the potential to create something better for ourselves. By building resilience, we not only foster the ability to keep moving forward regardless of the challenges, but we can change our own internal realities to lead happier and more motivated lives.

Personal Sustainability: The importance of a healthy work/life balance

Sustainability from a business perspective is focused on making decisions that provide long-term benefit and minimise negative impact. Along a similar vein, our own personal sustainability is also reliant on these choices; making sure that we’re acting with our long-term wellbeing in mind and avoiding settling for short-term ‘trade-offs.’

So, where do we start when it comes to making sure we’re achieving a proper work/life balance?

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An investment in personal wellbeing is an investment in the important aspects of life, particularly those that help us to create the most meaning such as work or relationships. As the saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” which unfortunately too many of us find ourselves doing in order to keep up with our increasingly busy schedules.

Economically, right now human beings are more productive than in all of history. Yet despite this, rates of suicide, depression and chronic disease are steadily climbing.

It’s becoming apparent that money doesn’t necessarily equal wealth when it comes to our personal lives, and too often wellbeing is measured against financial prosperity. Perhaps what we need now is a shift surrounding ideas of what constitutes a ‘good life.’ A focus on material wealth and corporate success has become the driver for unwise short-term trade-offs like over-working; which in turn leads to further ‘trading off’ of things like our health or valuable personal relationships, as we find we become too time poor to properly maintain them. While such decisions may provide short-term gain in the form of praise or bonuses, the long-term effects on our mental and physical wellbeing can lead to feelings of isolation, resentment and stress. In fact, among the top documented regrets from people at the end of their lives is “I wish I didn’t work so hard,” and “I wish I let myself be happier.” Human beings have a wonderful knack for focusing on the short-term, which can be seen throughout history as quick profit is time and time again placed above caring for the environment, even in the face of catastrophic consequences. If we can learn anything from this, it’s that trade-offs such as these only create more issues, and a real sustainability plan needs to determine if what we’re currently doing is going to bring negative ramifications in the future.

No matter how productive we may be on a particular day, if we do not derive a deep sense of meaning from what we are doing then we may be left feeling shallow and empty. In this sense, it’s important to find time in our lives right now to do the things that help us feel whole. Take some time to reflect on all the ways you make meaning in your life. Whether it’s creating, socialising, reading, cooking or exercising; no matter what it is, it’s important to make sure these activities are getting factored into your schedule every week. Make your happiness sustainable by centring it around fulfilling and enjoyable activities, rather than KPI’s and material objects. If the thing that truly gives you purpose is your line of work, make sure that you’re also setting aside time for self-care as working too much can actually make you less productive – defeating the whole purpose of working hard in the first place!

The most important thing that can be done right now is to take accountability for your own wellbeing. Cut back your work hours, say no to things, or simply take an extra half an hour in the day to go to the gym or prepare a meal. By recognising that there is no destination, that in fact, the journey is the most important part, we can start creating more fulfilling and satisfactory lives.