How Good Is ESG As A Career Choice?

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by Eric Burdon
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The status of employees and the workforce has been rocky for decades. There are strikes across Hollywood over writers' pay right now, there is unrest over artificial intelligence rendering many human jobs obsolete, and companies employ other tactics such as union busting or mass layoffs to turn a quick buck.

Just as companies are focusing on ESG initiatives and how to balance rapid growth with the green economy, the workforce itself needs to go through changes as well. Thankfully, in the coming years there is an opportunity for both of those things to be closely related, to be achieved, and to work harmoniously. That future path is through ESG.

On the surface, ESG extends beyond reporting on financial metrics. There is a level of ethics and consciousness that ESG brings that breathes new life into old corporate practices and ways of thinking. But while ESG affects the corporate world at large, it also affects businesses and individuals, should people take advantage of it.

For businesses, this is an opportunity to give back to the community and support the general public, while delivering positive environmental impact, social equity, and exemplifying progress in good governance. And for individuals, it’s an opportunity to grow a new career in ESG with the practical application of technical skills, knowledge, and certifications, investing energy into the transition to more sustainable economic models.

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There Is No Shortage Of Jobs

Workers don’t need to put in much effort to build a career in ESG right now. Currently, there is a large gap between sustainability skills and the current workforce's abilities. Between workshops and some quick certification programmes, workers can provide immense value to current employers and to the ESG field overall.

But for those looking to lean further in, there is a large surplus of jobs all across the world. As countries and companies ramp up ESG efforts and work towards their goals, they will need more people in a broad range of these positions. On the accounting level alone, you have PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) announcing in 2021 that they will create 100,000 new jobs over five years that will focus on sustainability.

Beyond accounting, there is a high demand for ESG analysts, ESG strategists, and other ESG professionals. With this high demand against chronic labour shortages around the world, this is as good an opportunity as any to dive in and find work.

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Promising Pay & Sustainable Development

Another angle to consider with this demand for careers in ESG is that there aren’t many incentives for workers to delve into this field. It’s easy to chalk this up to companies not being willing to offer great salaries but management expecting workers to work long hours and have many responsibilities.

But that isn’t the case.

Looking at pay alone, the salaries for those delving into the ESG job market are highly lucrative. The labour shortages are a boon for ESG job seekers, as they can demand higher pay, especially with a relevant certification. At the highest local levels, top talent can easily expect a base salary of $110,000 USD per year. For global positions, those can be higher.

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More Companies Will Be Joining In

Even though more sustainable jobs are being created every day, the ESG market is still burgeoning. Now that it has gotten notice from investors and the public, companies have to take ESG seriously to some degree. This can be in the form of creating investment in sustainable jobs or by setting goals and changing some existing positions to cover sustainability, environmental risks, sustainable financial planning, or simply by developing a focus on how a company can optimise its energy use, waste practices, greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuels dependence, to name but a few areas, to achieve benefits on the bottom line. 

By avoiding ESG, companies face reputational damage, investor apathy, and disenfranchised employees. In the case of workers specifically, a PwC report found that 86% of employees would rather work for or support companies that care about certain issues just as much as they do.

And because ESG is tackling all kinds of issues—like climate change, anti-corruption, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI)—businesses can’t rest on current achievements. This creates opportunities for more people to join the ESG job market and find plenty of options to consider, to build livelihoods centred around the importance of improved management, consumption practices, services, use of resources, finance, technology use... the list is creatively endless.

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An ESG Career Is An Excellent Pursuit

Unlike other trends that we’ve seen in the workforce, ESG isn’t a hollow corporate buzzword. This movement has a long evolutionary history and is an effective, multi-pronged a business philosophy. It’s a way for businesses to plan, grow, and develop. Organizations that place ESG factors at the centre of their operations are simply recognising the opportunity to embrace change and adaptation as a continuous improvement model of doing business. 

In this sense, 'ESG investing' is as inward a process as the external form of sustainable investing, and choosing ESG as a career evolution means that jobs created under this umbrella are bound to those ideologies as well, directing companies to be more ethical as well as the people working to fill those positions and work in this industry. 

It shows a lot of promise.

To find and enrol in specialised ESG courses, click here.   

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