In a letter recently published in Property Week, Totum Director Deborah Gray, discusses ESG and recruitment and explains why property firms must take an authentic approach to sustainability if they are to attract and retain talent.
As recruitment specialists for the industry, the team at Totum Partners has seen first hand that property industry professionals themselves have come to place a high premium on the sustainability credentials of their employers and are now increasingly aware of ESG rhetoric that could be seen as greenwashing.
A major contributor to this firming of attitudes is the fact that, for
the first time, the UK workforce is now majority millennial – a
demographic group within which 40% have chosen a job because the company
performed better on sustainability.
But a commitment to sustainability is not just about attracting talent,
it’s also about retaining it, with 70% of millennials saying they would stay
with a company with a robust sustainability plan.
With 2018 figures indicating an already relatively high turnover level
of 8% in UK real estate compared with other industries, the sector cannot
afford to treat sustainability as a box-ticking exercise.
Firms need to act now to approach sustainability in an authentic and transparent way and rather than focusing simply on financial and regulatory imperatives, ESG must be guided by a genuine and realisable commitment towards social and environmental good.
For this effort to be effective and valued by current and future
employees, firms must ensure that their staff are part of the conversation
around environmental commitments.
Indeed, if sustainability is to become truly embedded within
organisational values, the cultural shift must be felt and driven by all levels
of a business.
It is no longer enough to talk about ESG without tangible action – to do
so will increasingly risk industry professionals voting with their feet.