Gen Z seek ethical workplaces as environ-mental health burden bites

  • 18-22 year olds will turn down roles and take pay cuts to work with their preferred employers
  • Two in three feel anxious due to high mental health burden of climate change
  • In a hot labour market ESG commitments can help businesses win the war for talent
  • Bupa ESG experts advise businesses to support employee wellbeing through ESG

Businesses demonstrating strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments will win the war for Generation Z workers in 2022 as they face an increasing environ-mental health burden.

According to new data from Bupa, two in three Gen Zs (68%) are anxious about environmental issues – more than any other generation – and a similar number (63%) feel the burden of climate change on their shoulders.

As they enter a hot labour market where competition for talent is fierce, 64 per cent say it’s important that employers act on environmental issues, with a lack of action affecting the mental wellbeing of two in five (43%).

Crucially, Gen Z are prepared to prioritise their mental health over their earnings. One in three (31%) would turn down roles in companies with poor ESG credentials, and over half (54%) would take a pay cut to work for a business that reflects their ethics, on average sacrificing more than a quarter (27%) of their salary.

With mental ill-health costing UK businesses £45Bn a year, the research suggests that engaging employees with sustainability commitments will support their physical and mental health, and provide growing value to businesses as Gen Z saturate the workforce and move up the career ladder.

Gen Z and the environ-mental health burden

Generation Z are more anxious than any other age group about a range of social and environmental issues:

  • 63% of Gen Z feel the burden of climate change on their shoulders versus just 37% of Gen X and 28% of Boomers
  • 63% of Gen Z are anxious about social justice issues like racism and homophobia, compared to 52% of Generation X and 43% of Baby Boomers
  • 64% are anxious about poverty and inequality, compared to 59% of Gen X and 53% of Boomers
  • And with the climate crisis and social injustice continuing to dominate the news agenda, 60% of Gen Z respondents said they expected their anxiety to increase in the future (versus only 46% of Gen X and 40% of Baby Boomers).

The Bupa data also shows that environmental and social commitments are a powerful tool in a challenging marketplace. Six in 10 Gen Zs (59%) and over half of people overall (52%) said they would stay longer with a company that had ESG commitments, as well as recommend it to others as a good place to work.

Employers with strong environmental and social commitments can also expect a boost to productivity – around half of people of all ages said they would be more engaged with their organisation overall (51%), more satisfied in their jobs (53%) and more productive (47%).

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