Our Green Future – The accelerated demand for ESG talent

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Our Green Future – The accelerated demand for ESG talent

Sustainability has grown into a top priority in many industries, but the sector continues to have a growing demand for skilled professionals. Companies exploring ways to make a positive impact while operating a viable business is one of the fastest-growing investment fields, as the globe continues to focus on the challenges associated with climate change.

In 2020, investment into sustainable funds reached a record level, with figures significantly higher than in previous years. By 2030, ESG investment is forecast to reach $1 trillion. The signs clearly show the rise of the green industry and the need to focus on attracting the best talent to allow for this transformation.

Around the world, the demand for ESG talent is rising rapidly across various sectors. For some businesses, ESG represents one of the most profound opportunities since the digital transformation era. 

To succeed in this space, an organisation requires leaders that appreciate what’s at stake. They must be capable of adapting and embracing these changes and demonstrate to the entire business the importance of ESG.

Earlier this year, accounting business leaders PwC announced a $12 billion plan to develop 100,000 new jobs in ESG by 2026. This figure, if achieved, would represent a third of the total workforce at PwC.

The demand for ESG professionals is likely to continue rising rapidly. Businesses are looking for strong communicators that are agile in their thinking and can take on new information in this rapidly developing space. 

A recent study by the CFA Institute of investment professionals on LinkedIn discovered that under 1% had shown sustainability-related skills or expertise on their profile. In the same report, 6% of jobs posted requested sustainability-related skills and experience.

ESG today is still considered by some as a luxury and has been for some years. As a result, some companies steered away from investing in this space. Today, with regulators, investors and the finance industry requiring businesses to be responsible socially, environmentally, and for governance, companies appreciate that it is a necessary cost that is unavoidable. This accelerated rise has spurred the demand for more talent in the ESG field. The need for ESG experts is surging across professional services, consultancies, finance and investment and within the many businesses need to compile and report their ESG information to stakeholders.

Robert Bischof, MD and European ESG leader at PwC, explained that there isn’t enough talent available to satisfy the current demand. As a result, Bischof believes it will require a combination of recruiting talent and developing talent further for what is needed by businesses. The accelerated rise of ESG has come quicker than many anticipated. In a short space of time, ESG jobs expanded beyond data analysis to a priority in business strategy and a core part of business development.

Businesses are looking for specific skill sets and individuals capable of leading on strategy. Businesses need to connect the areas of risks and opportunities in sustainability, the demands of investors and think holistically about integrating ESG into a company. As ESG is a relatively new field, the talent pool will inevitably be small. As the demand for talent increases, there will be a need to create and expand a diverse talent pool with appropriate training and experience. 

With investors driving further demands for sustainability, areas like ESG are undoubtedly becoming top priorities for many organisations. 

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