ESG, for better or worse, has been top of mind for employers, especially in the wake of various social upheavals in 2020 — but employers may not have the talent to reach lofty sustainability goals, according to Salesforce research released Sept. 14.
The pressure is on companies to set and meet “increasingly large commitments” regarding climate, the report said. However, 88% of workers surveyed said there’s too little investment in sustainability training, and 82% said an inability to find such talent is stopping companies from reaching sustainability targets.
“Language in the sustainability field is very technical — there is a language gap. People understand personal sustainability but not corporate sustainability,” one sustainability leader said in the report.
One solution may lie in upskilling. Ninety-four percent of workers surveyed said training existing employees on sustainability-related skills would build trust in a company’s ESG commitments. Notably, employees want the training and could be a key source of potential talent for these hard-to-fill roles, Salesforce said; 67% of workers surveyed said they wanted more sustainability-related qualifications.
In a strange time for talent acquisition, clear efforts around sustainability could help employers stand out from the crowd, a 2021 survey from the IBM Institute for Value noted. More than two-thirds of job seekers surveyed said environmentally-friendly companies were more attractive than other, less sustainability-focused companies, and almost half of those surveyed said they would accept a lower salary to work at such an organization.
That means sustainability upskilling — and company messaging around purpose and meaningful work — could be a key draw for talent, as well. Many smaller “clean tech” companies, for example, hire workers with baseline competencies and train them up in the more technical aspects of their jobs, experts previously told HR Dive.