There were a record number of job vacancies in the UK this year centred around environment, social and governance (ESG) – with more anticipated in 2022 according to global recruiter Robert Walters.
There have been more than 35,000 new jobs created this year alone around ESG – with the number of people moving into these roles increasing by +7% to now represent upwards of 400,000 professionals in the UK.
The heightened focus on ESG comes as the UK presses ahead with its world-leading commitment to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero by 2050, in addition to mounting pressure on listed companies to be more transparent around pay and representation at board level.
Added to this the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently announced their work with Government to improve transparency and data discrepancy, in a bid to put UK financial services and regulation at the forefront of ESG internationally.
All of this is leading to ESG being treated with increasing importance by business leaders, where currently half of the country’s leading firms link executive pay to ESG measures.
The findings come from a new report from recruiter Robert Walters: Environment, Social, and Governance: Mindset Over Must.
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.
“With that the number of ESG roles across the UK has risen sharply this year and will continue to grow as organisations strive to be more ethical, fair and inclusive.
“These roles can sit in HR (+19%), IT (+18%), Marketing (+18%), Finance (+6%), Research (+6%), Legal (+3%) or standalone roles reporting directly to the Board – and will lead to new working practices impacting organisational sustainability and resilience, whilst also building long term value for Stakeholders.”
Roles relating to corporate social responsibility (CSR) increased by +54% when compared to 2019 pre-pandemic, and by +121% when compared to 2020 – with May 2021 being the second-busiest month on record.
Recruitment has also been steadily shifting to senior hires, from 7% of total CSR vacancies in 2019 to 28% in 2021.
Not surprisingly the industry where hiring for CSR experts is most prominent is consumer goods and services – which accounts for nearly 23% of all professional vacancies.
Chris 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.”