Well, I spend my days recruiting managers for a wide range of companies, from producers to retailers, and increasingly candidates are asking about a company’s environmental and ethical policies as well as the salary and package they are offering. Money alone is not the main driver in someone’s career choice. As recruiters, we know that what makes the difference for most people are the intangible factors that make things ‘feel right’ – and the most important of these is a company’s culture.
People are more aware about environmental issues, and the distance many are content to maintain between their personal values and those of their employer is narrowing. This is particularly the case among those born after about 1978: just the sort of people who are coming through into the ranks of junior management today, and just the sort of people every business is trying to attract. The cynics out there will say the credit crunch will see some back-peddling on green issues as companies focus on core issues and cut back on ‘trendy’ new initiatives.
However, the green agenda is here to stay. It is a reflection of the wider concerns of society and the business community has to adapt to this. It is nothing new that people want to work for companies that they believe are socially responsible and have sound business ethics. In a competitive market, where talented individuals are hard to attract, it has always made sense for companies to treat their staff, suppliers and customers with integrity and to interact in a positive way with their local community.
You could say that new environmental concerns have just been added to the list of criteria candidates use to aid their career decisions. However, for many people, finding an employer that reflects their personal values is becoming an increasingly important factor. It’s not just another manifestation of work/life balance, it is much more fundamental.
It’s about taking responsibility for things, cutting waste and thinking about the consequences of your actions in advance. Which, when you come to think about it, is what all good companies should be doing any way.
Guy Moreton is director of recruitment practitioner MorePeople