With sustainability higher up the business agenda than ever before, new recruitment research brings some welcome good news for those with CSR skills looking for a job. The number of CSR-related job roles advertised this year has risen 74% since 2020; up 54% compared to 2019 (pre-pandemic). In fact, May 2021 was the second-busiest CSR recruitment drive on record.
The findings come from a new report by global recruiter Robert Walters Group. The study ESG: Mindset over Must analyses key labour trends related to the heightened focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria.
In terms of industry sectors, Consumer Goods & Services continues to lead the way on recruitment of sustainability experts — accounting for 23% of all CSR-professional vacancies this year.
ESG critical for survival, not just investment
The stakes are rising for recruitment, says Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters UK:
“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.”
Other industries which have maintained their recruitment drive in this area include Real Estate & Construction, Professional Services, Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT) and Financial Services — which represent 19%, 13%, 11% and 8% of CSR-vacancies this year, respectively.
Perhaps what is most surprising to see is that the Energy & Utilities sector advertised 9% of all CSR-related jobs, followed by 5% from the Public Sector and 2% from Healthcare.
However it is important to note that whilst CSR recruitment may be less representative in such sectors, hiring for this role has increased from near 0% within Public Sector and Energy & Utilities.
Within Healthcare, hiring for CSR-specialists skyrocketed by 100% between 2019 to 2020, indicating that the majority of their hiring spree took place during the pandemic.
Daniel Connors, Associate Director of Robert Walters UK adds:
“Global warming has hit a number of industries hard this year — including financial services and insurance — where the damage caused by hurricanes, wildfires, and floods presents risk factors for location of offices and even potential investors.”
Sustainability driving the agenda in the C-Suite
In a move that signals more conversations are being had about sustainability in the boardroom, senior or top-level hires have increased from 7% in 2019 to represent 28% of all CSR-related hires in 2021.
These findings align strongly with the growing C-Suite trend that has already seen nearly half of the FTSE100 link executive pay and bonus structures to ESG.
ESG seems here to stay, suggests Craig Howells, Principal Consultant at Robert Walters:
“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.”
London still leads the way, but Ireland lags behind
When breaking down the figures by region, London continues to dominate on the hiring front representing 40% of all CSR-related vacancies this year, followed by the North West (9%), and The Midlands (9%).
However other regions are in fact making gains on London. In the Capital, the number of CSR-related roles has decreased by 45% in the past year, whereas we have seen job vacancies increase exponentially in other areas of the UK including in The Midlands (+400%), North West (+150%), Scotland (+100%), and South West (+33%).
It is not perhaps surprising to see the increase is becoming largely location-agnostic, with remote roles up +100% in the past year, as the impact of the pandemic combined with a candidate shortage continues to be felt.
Ireland is, however, lagging somewhat behind the general trend.
Some 90% of Irish companies consider ESG in their strategic and operational decision-making process, whilst 93% have a dedicated sustainability lead within the firm — of which 66% are at the executive level.
In spite of the focus on ESG, CSR-specific recruitment in the Republic of Ireland so far has remained relatively niche in comparison to other ESG-related roles such as Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Governance.
In fact, the largest firms in Ireland recorded only 23 CSR vacancies in the first half of 2021 — with the consumer goods and services sector recording the most roles (30%), and an overall tilt to senior roles (35%).
The writing is on the wall, though, concludes Daniel O’Leary, Business Director at Robert Walters:
“Businesses which are failing to meet the expected ESG performance standards should expect to see a knock-on impact on their reputation. As a workforce strategy, ESG has become a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent.”
What defines a job in CSR?
The full report on labour trends and CSR is available to download and view — ESG: Mindset Over Must – A Review of Labour Market Trends in an ESG-focussed era — and the key takeaways can be summarised as follows:
- 74% increase in CSR jobs since 2020, and 54% increase since 2019;
- 28% of CSR vacancies is for senior roles — up from 7%;
- Half of FTSE link pay and bonus to ESG goals;
- A quarter of CSR hires comes from consumer goods industry;
- 40% of all CSR-roles are advertised within London;
- 400% increase in Midlands and 150% increase in North West of CSR-roles;
- Total number of remote CSR roles has doubled in the last year.
Robert Walters defines CSR roles by the following job responsibilities, as displayed in job adverts:
- Developing policies relating to a company’s ethical, sustainable, and environmental responsibilities;
- Ensuring a company has a positive impact on local communities and the environment’
- Raising public awareness of a company’s social responsibility commitments through marketing and communications;
- Conducting research into best practice;
- Writing and actioning a company’s social responsibility and sustainability strategy;
- Creating meaningful partnerships with clients, employees, suppliers, charities, and other groups;
- Ensuring that a company’s policies meet legal and commercial needs;
- Organising meaningful events for employees and their teams;
- Encouraging links between the company and educational or charitable groups; and
- Reporting on social responsibility activity to senior managers and/or board.
With more than 3,200 people in 31 countries, Robert Walters Group delivers recruitment consultancy, staffing, recruitment process outsourcing and managed services across the globe.
- More on the Robert Walters Group and the report ESG: Mindset Over Must;
- Also on SustMeme, Supply Chain: ESG strategies mission-critical for sustainability;
- Also on SustMeme, ESG ups the stakes for supply-chain risk and reward;
- Also on SustMeme, the SustMeme CSR & Business Top 500 global weekly ranking.
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