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How being a sustainable business could help businesses to attract younger candidates

Millennials and Gen Z now represent over half of the workforce in the UK, and many of these individuals consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when they are deciding where to apply for a job. Based on a recent study, two thirds of Millennials and Gen Z candidates consider climate change to be the biggest issue facing Britain and the world in the next 20 years and are looking only to accept roles at companies with an active sustainability program. Therefore, businesses need to think about sustainability when trying to appeal to younger candidates.

These digital natives in the workforce bring with them a new set of values, ethics, and priorities. Now this doesn’t imply that what they are suggesting is completely new, but rather a deeper commitment to a prevalent crisis. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for social and workplace changes that were already beginning. From mental health being more open to a charged socio-political atmosphere taking hold, a push for greater focus on climate change is not surprising.

This doesn’t simply mean upping recycling efforts; it also means cutting down on paper processes and streamlining workflows. It means creating less waste and changing business operations to have less of an environmental impact. If a company is looking to attract Millennial and Gen Z candidates, business sustainability and a commitment to going green is something to keep at the forefront of everything they do.

How to become a more sustainable business

  • Reduce sources of waste - A lot of businesses know that reducing the use of paper can make a big difference to the amount of waste produced, but there are some ways a company can take things a step further. Instead of simply encouraging employees to go paper-free by emailing and instant messaging, the company can target other areas of the business where a lot of waste is produced. For example, are paper plates used in the canteen, and are there compost bins located around the office? Small changes such as these make a big difference and could inspire employees to share more sustainable solutions. They would also show eco-conscious candidates that the business is going above and beyond to be more sustainable.
  • Have an ESG strategy in place - Having an Environment, Social and Governance strategy in place helps to attract top talent. ESG is a purpose-led approach that can be applied in decision-making processes, setting objectives, and accurately reporting on progress. It shows individuals that the business is a “purpose driven, inclusive and progressive” employer. When combined with a company’s Employee Value Proposition, it is more likely to attract candidates, as it highlights a company’s commitment to enacting positive change in the workplace.
  • Update old fashioned processes - Many businesses don’t update their workflows and processes, assuming this will create more waste and paperwork, and go against the aim of becoming more sustainable. However, this is not always the case. Updating old fashioned systems is a great way to increase a business’s sustainability. For example, a business could make some changes in the accounts department to ensure all payments are made digitally. Automating payment workflows cuts down on waste, as well as reducing fraud and security risks.
  • Shout about your sustainability - There are a lot of businesses out there competing for candidates, but a business can stand out by being vocal about their sustainability efforts. According to the Journal of Cleaner Production, many jobseekers are willing to accept a lower salary to work for a sustainable company. In fact, some candidates would be willing to accept a salary reduction of £8,100 per year if it meant working for a company with Sustainable Development Goals. This highlights just how much sustainability matters to these digital natives, and why a business needs to showcase the lengths they are going to benefit the environment.
  • Offer remote working opportunities – Millennials and Gen Z are called digital natives because they have grown up immersed in technology. Which explains why a large percentage of them prioritise work/life balance and look for hybrid options in work. However, that’s not the only reason to think more about hybrid work options. Giving employees the option to work remotely reduces the number of people commuting to work, which is another way of being a more sustainable business. The 2021 Annual report on Transport and Environment Statistics states that 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are caused by transport, most of which is people travelling to and from work. With employees working from home twice a week, a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by an annual 14.3 megatons of CO2 equivalent can be achieved. Offering remote working opportunities also supports employee wellbeing and mental health, and this type of support is something that many individuals are looking for in an employer. In fact, more than 3,000+ workers at c70 UK companies started working a four-day week with no loss of pay in the world’s biggest trial of a new working pattern.

Commitment to Environmental Sustainability in the Technology Sector:

Candidates are not the only ones conscious about climate change, the global technology sector has also moved towards more sustainable practices in light of the increasing temperatures in the UK and the alarming effects of global warming. The ‘Circular economy approach’ towards production jobs, using the cloud for ‘Greener’ manufacturing and operations jobs, remote working options where possible, and alternative fuel usage are some of the practices that have been brought into the sector by market leaders looking to play their part for sustainability.

There are a lot of ways for an engineering and technology business to attract candidates and being sustainable is certainly one of the most important. With Millennials and Gen Z candidates purposely choosing jobs at sustainable businesses, sustainable practices are essential for the environment and the recruitment process.

For more information on attracting top technology talent to your business, call 01582 450054 or email



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