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What kind of jobs can you get with a qualification in ESG?

by Sean O'Neill on Jul 29, 2022

jobs in ESG

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With an increasing focus on the triple bottom line – people, profits, and the planet – ESG jobs are rising, particularly at accounting and consulting firms. So, what kind of jobs can you get with an ESG qualification?

Global investment in ESG was approaching $700 billion as of 2021, which was more than double the 2019 figure. Such assets will reach as much as $1 trillion by 2030.

Today ESG careers are varied and multiplying. People qualified in ESG are employed by wealth management firms, banks, or many other kinds of organisations. ESG analysts, for example, are employed to examine the non-financial elements of investment opportunities to reach more rounded decisions.

ESG analysts combine information from past audits, public policy statements, growth projections, and internal data analysis. The findings may be used to examine what steps a company can take to mitigate risk in the future.

Typical employers include consulting firms, manufacturing firms, construction firms, real estate companies, NGOs, and financial services companies

Key takeaways of this guide

  • ESG careers measure environmental, social, and governance-related data
  • Becoming certified in ESG is valuable for those in finance careers such as wealth managers, accountants, risk managers, and compliance officers
  • A qualification or certification in ESG is beneficial to land most roles
  • Other valuable skills for a career in ESG include analytical skills, business experience, critical thinking and strong ethics
  • Typical employers include consulting firms, manufacturing firms, construction firms, real estate companies, NGOs, and financial services companies

Companies today need to be more transparent about their operations and report on ESG

What is ESG investing?

ESG investing considers environmental, social, and governance factors when evaluating companies. This approach includes looking at non-financial factors such as the impact of business activities on people and the planet and if they can be sustainable in the long term.

Factors such as carbon footprint can indicate how much exposure a firm has to risk, which could be in the form of fines and reputation damage.

How open an organisation is to address such concerns will drive the confidence of investors and other stakeholders.

Companies today need to be more transparent about their operations than ever before, and those in banking and finance are responding to such demand with an increasing array of ESG-related investment products.

Portfolio managers and financial advisers can further differentiate themselves with an ESG qualification

Who should become certified in ESG?

Becoming certified in ESG can lead to potential opportunities for those employed in numerous sectors.

For example, wealth managers and investment practitioners can particularly benefit from such certifications.

An ESG qualification for such professionals can complement existing qualifications or provide a potential career change.

Those with an ESG qualification could apply for roles such as ESG analyst, which involves conducting research for investment firms or global institutions. Such positions are expected to expand into the future.

Portfolio managers and financial advisers can further differentiate themselves with an ESG qualification since this would help investors increase their ESG portfolio.

Other careers where an ESG qualification would be helpful include actuarial roles where insurance firms may need to consider ESG criteria when assessing risk, pension trustees, and risk managers.

Those in accounting roles would additionally benefit from such qualifications, as measuring data and reporting on it for ESG purposes could be necessary for the business. And, of course, this kind of qualification would also be helpful in regulatory and compliance roles.

Accountants are already well equipped to lead this process. Due to their analytics skills and knowledge of business reporting, accountants are increasingly being called on to deal with reporting on this. Indeed, such skills will become increasingly crucial in accounting since businesses must now try to achieve their bottom line in all of these areas.

Obtaining an ESG qualification can be a great way to add a new skill to your CV. Even if you already have a stable career, an ESG qualification can prove very useful.

PWC has announced a plan to develop 100,000 ESG jobs by 2026

Career opportunities for those with ESG qualifications

Typical firms employing those with ESG qualifications include financial firms, real estate companies, management consultancies, and NGOs.

Companies that are obliged to report ESG criteria to a range of stakeholders should be interested in people holding such qualifications.

Since consulting firms need to emphasise their commitment to sustainability, ESG-related roles within such firms are expected to grow into the future.

PWC has announced a plan to develop 100,000 ESG jobs by 2026, and leading Irish firms are now including ESG criteria in as much as 90% of their strategic decisions. So roles involving financial consulting would also be a good choice.

ESG roles are expanding and becoming more strategic – there is a growing skills gap in this area

What skills are required for a career in ESG? 

ESG roles look for people who can understand data and metrics but also those who can help to lead efforts to become more sustainable.

ESG roles are expanding and becoming more strategic – there is a growing skills gap in this area.

Employers particularly favour those with existing business experience, who are passionate and good at critical thinking, and who have a multidisciplinary perspective.

To make your first steps into a career in ESG, you should consider your career background and see if this gives you any unique perspectives on how ESG relates to your industry.

ESG experts should be able to examine investments from multiple points of view and adapt quickly to changing events. They should have excellent ethics and quantitative skills. Being a good team worker is essential, as are good analytical skills.

If you are interested in ESG careers, you should be someone who cares about corporate responsibility and certification in the sector is becoming increasingly common.

Millennials and Generation Z will make up most of the workforce by 2029

Companies that report on ESG have an advantage in the skills race

A strong ESG empowers workers to contribute beyond their scope of duties, leaving a lasting positive impact. Therefore ESG is an influential factor that improves overall employee satisfaction and retention. Companies with established ESG progress will likely attract prospective talents and an undisrupted flow/succession of talented people.

According to Mercer, generational changes in the workforce will also account for greater priority in ESG strategies. Millennials and Generation Z will make up most of the workforce by 2029. These emerging demographics tend to have greater environmental and societal concerns than previous generations.

Ultimately, adopting and improving ESG initiatives will keep people happy, and a more satisfied workforce will likely go the extra mile toward driving organisational success and excellence.

Further reading

  1. Is a lack of ESG a risk for companies?
  2. What are the three pillars of ESG?
  3. How to measure your ESG

ESG for Directors

Become the ESG expert in your organisation. Rapidly acquire the new and updated thinking you need to navigate the impact of ESG.

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ESG for Directors

Become the ESG expert in your organisation. Rapidly acquire the new and updated thinking you need to navigate the impact of ESG.

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