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- One-third of Gen Zers in a survey said they wanted jobs aligned with their environmental values.
- In the KPMG poll, 92% said they wanted “values and purpose” from a company.
- But it “sometimes feels like you can’t afford to be picky,” one job hunter told Insider.
One-third of Gen Zers in a recent KPMG survey said they’d rejected a job offer because they didn’t like a company’s green credentials.
In the accounting giant’s survey of 5,700 UK adults, conducted in October and released this week, one in three Gen Z respondents said they’d rejected a job offer based on a company’s environmental, social, and governance record — higher than the figure of one in five for the respondents of all ages.
Gen Z, people ages 18 to 25, were also the most likely age group to say they placed some importance on being able to link “values and purpose” with the organization they worked for, with 92% agreeing with that statement.
The growing group of climate-conscious job seekers is part of the wider movement of “climate quitters” — people seeking environmentally friendly companies and leaving their jobs to join them.
Gabrielle, 22, is seeking full-time employment. She recently considered applying to a position that would’ve offered “good experience” — but ultimately decided against submitting an application because it was with a “fast fashion” brand.
“I just couldn’t get it to sit right with me to apply to a company that goes against my values,” Gabrielle said.
People ages 25 to 34 were the most likely (55%) to value ESG commitments from their employer, the KPMG survey found, with Gen Z following with 51%.
Juliet, 27, recently interviewed at a major bank in Ireland. She’s eager to hear back but told Insider: “I still don’t know how to feel about it.”
While the bank has publicly pledged to help tackle the climate crisis, it holds hefty investments in fossil fuels, she said.
Juliet and Gabrielle asked to exclude their surnames because they’re still actively seeking employment; their identities have been verified by Insider.
It’s sometimes tricky to learn about businesses’ climate credentials because “almost all major companies put out a sustainability report that makes them sound great,” Juliet said.
She told Insider she’d considered applying to one company that had a positive sustainability report and “a big green presence on social media” — but later found they’d been contracted to work on a large-scale crude-oil pipeline. This was a major conflict with Juliet’s outlook on sustainability, so she decided not to submit her application.
It can also be hard to know where to draw the line. Most companies have major room for improvement in their climate policies, Gabrielle said. If you look too deep, it can be tough to find anywhere that seems acceptable, she told Insider.
But for many job hunters, it’s not all about the planet. Financial stability can outrank ecological sustainability — especially for younger workers grappling with high rents.
Juliet said she’d take that job at the bank with the fossil-fuel investments if she got an offer because it’s “just too attractive from a career perspective.” She added: “Job hunting is hard. It’d be nice to give up on it for a while.”
“When you’re just starting out, it sometimes feels like you can’t afford to be picky,” Gabrielle said.
Have you rejected a job offer or quit a role because of a company’s ESG record? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.