Strong ESG commitment vital to Gen Z workforce in face of climate change burden

Strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments are more important to Generation Z workers over earnings as they face an increasing “environ-mental” health burden.

According to research carried out by international healthcare company Bupa, 68% of Gen Z workers are anxious about environmental issues – more than any other generation – whilst 63% feel the burden of climate change on their shoulders. In addition, 64% say it’s important that employers act on environmental issues, with a lack of action affecting the mental wellbeing of two in five employees aged 18 to 22.

Crucially, Gen Z are prepared to prioritise their mental health over their earnings with 31% stating that they would turn down roles in companies with poor ESG credentials. More crucially, 54% would be willing to take a pay cut to work for a business that reflects their ethics, on average sacrificing more than a quarter (27%) of their salary.

The data also shows that environmental and social commitments are a powerful tool in a challenging marketplace as 59% of Gen Z workers would stay longer with a company that had ESG commitments, as well as recommend it to others as a good place to work.

Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa said: “ESG commitments really can have an impact on employee mental health, so it’s important that businesses take note. A high salary for work that feels meaningless can only satisfy one for so long, whereas feeling like we’re contributing to the greater good and making a difference has a positive effect on our self-esteem. It can even reduce feelings of burnout, something that many people are struggling with after a tough couple of years.”

Sally Pain, Chief Sustainability Officer at Bupa said: “As skills shortages bite across many sectors and businesses face a challenging year ahead, it’s easy to think that social and environmental commitments are optional. Our research shows that they are quickly becoming critical to success. For companies who want to build and nurture future leaders for their business, investing in strong targets that connect with their employees’ personal values is vital.”