News Analysis

60% of British workers unhappy with employers’ ESG efforts

by Dan Byrne on Aug 11, 2022


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Younger generations of British workers don’t have much faith in their employers’ enthusiasm for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) efforts.

Despite continuing pushes for corporate bodies to pursue goals beyond pure profit, 61% of surveyed millennials and zoomers (generation Z) feel the companies could do more, according to new research from employee insurance company YuLife, in conjunction with prominent British polling agency YouGov, 

The joint survey also found that just a quarter of British employees aged 18-24 thought their company positively impacted ESG. 

“With millennials and generation Z now accounting for over half the UK workforce, their perspectives are also increasingly influencing employment priorities,” the report’s introduction read. 

“A greater influence on social and sustainability and social impact initiatives is emerging.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • 90% of employees in Britain say it’s essential that their workplace donate to charity
  • 62% would think better of their company if it invested more in environmental initiatives
  • 42% are more likely to work for a company that demonstrates a commitment to sustainable causes
  • 37% would avoid working for companies with a poor record in green initiatives
  • Around half of British employees would invest more of their time in ESG causes (such as volunteering or using green modes of transport) if their employer gave incentives to do so

“This survey clearly demonstrates that large numbers of UK employees want to work in an environment which makes a positive difference to society,” YuLife founder and CEO Sammy Rubin said on the report’s release. 

“But employers still have some way to go in order to respond to employee demand on this issue. With many companies’ budgets now tightening, it’s especially important that businesses don’t lose sight of this vital need, and ensure that ESG expenditure is well-matched to employees’ expectations.”

What does this mean for British companies?

The results add even more weight to the importance of ESG. 

Twenty years ago, when the term was in its infancy, there were very few robust efforts to promote it in the corporate world. Bot now, it has blossomed into an industry valued at more than $40 trillion, and business analysts say this to grow even more over the next decade. 

Reports like YuLife’s demonstrate that aside from the money, a culture of ESG is firmly in place in British business. This is especially true for younger generations, who have been brought up to care about ESG values as essential to a functioning society. Now they want to see those values reflected in the work they do. 

There is a caveat, however.

The report may quantify how much British employees care about ESG, but the questions asked were principled and conditional in nature. In other words, they have focused on what employees would do based on their personal standards. 

There are other factors worth considering, For example, the current cost of living squeeze and the pressure it is placing on workers in Britain to save, repay loans, and afford day-to-day expenses.

How does this crisis affect the principles of workers? Would some be willing to re-think their ideal employer when finance becomes a problem?

There would likely be a very mixed and complex answer to this question. It reflects the complications of ESG in general, in particular trying to maintain focus on it despite other global events, like a war or a supply crisis, claiming more attention. It will be one to watch going forward. 

You can read the full report here

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Diploma in ESG

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Gen Z
UK employees

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