Recruiters and hiring managers must stay agile with their messaging to keep up with changing workforce attitudes and trends. This has been especially true over the past few years, as churn has affected every industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a while, it was remote work policies that candidates were pushing for, and that was reflected in the language of job descriptions. But now that the pandemic has stabilized, candidates’ priorities are shifting again.
In this article, we’ll discuss green job postings. These job descriptions emphasize neutral or positive corporate environmental impacts and sustainable work practices. As climate change increasingly threatens our way of life with extreme weather, candidates are looking for work that allows them to be a part of the climate solution.
Let’s explore which candidates are most interested in these changes and how you can use this trend to supercharge your recruiting strategy.
How sustainability fits into job postings
At first glance, it may seem like the topic of sustainability doesn’t belong in your job descriptions. Why would green job postings matter for companies and organizations outside of energy or climate activism sectors?
It’s simple— climate change and extreme weather affect all of us. Surveys show that the majority of Americans support global and domestic efforts to reduce the effects of climate change and develop our renewable energy infrastructure. Contemporary American politics may treat climate change as a partisan issue. Still, surveys show bipartisan support for various measures to mitigate climate change, such as providing tax credits for businesses that develop decarbonizing technology, or building more wind farms. Individuals may disagree on the best climate change mitigation methods and the government’s role in facilitating the switch, but most agree that taking action is important.
This growing cultural consensus on the importance of fighting climate change increasingly affects how candidates decide which jobs to apply for and accept. According to one IBM survey:
two out of three candidates are more likely to apply for (67%) and accept (68%) a job if a company is sustainable. One in three survey respondents who changed jobs in the past year reported taking a pay cut to work for a sustainable or socially responsible organization.
Therefore, corporate responsibility and environmental impact may wield a growing influence on whether workers remain with their employer and where new candidates choose to work.
Young people and the importance of sustainability
As you might guess, different demographic groups disagree on the urgency, origins, and solutions to climate change. It’s difficult to generalize about who finds sustainability most compelling because opinions vary by political affiliation, race, education, and geography.
But one thing is clear: young people are particularly concerned about climate change. Gen Zers and Millennials are consistently more engaged in climate change and sustainability than older people. They are more likely to say climate change should be a top policy priority, personally take action for the environment, and more likely to engage with friends about climate change. They are also more open to drastic climate solutions, like completely eliminating fossil fuel use, than older generations.
Understanding this trend is critical for creating green job postings for your organization. For one thing, young people are more likely to look for a job online than older generations, who tend to have a more established professional network to lean on when job searching.
Hiring graduates and building a robust talent pipeline will become more important in the coming years, as all of the nearly 70 million Baby Boomers will be over age 65 by 2030. Many industries, particularly those whose average employee age skews older, are unprepared for this shift and the effects it is bound to have on hiring and recruitment.
Members of Gen Z, the youngest working generation, are concerned about the ethics of the companies they work for. 77% of Gen Zers said it’s important that they work at a company that shares their values. 39% describe themselves as being very or extremely engaged with environmental concerns.
Lessons from the high-growth sustainable energy sector
We can’t talk about green job postings without mentioning the industry where it’s most important to emphasize how your organization protects the environment: the sustainable energy sector.
This industry is very popular for job applications among new graduates and younger people, leading other energy sector applications and overall applications year over year by 24% and 36%, respectively.
Applications from candidates with majors in technology are up as well, as young people increasingly view employment in the tech industry as less attractive. The number of new jobs in clean energy is expected to grow in the coming years, with the recent Inflation Reduction Act providing many billions of dollars in loans and tax credits to incentivize a national switch to clean energy and more robust energy infrastructure.
The explosive growth of the clean energy sector will certainly power a shift in the job openings candidates explore. But it will also impact other, seemingly unrelated parts of the economy. Job seekers gravitate towards industries that are ‘trendy’ and avoid those that are unreliable or seem in danger of job loss. Think of the epic hiring boom in Silicon Valley in the 2000s, or the manufacturing industry’s difficulty hiring amid global outsourcing and an aging workforce.
The recent infusion of cash into clean energy from the Inflation Reduction Act and growing concerns for the climate will continue to wield influence over candidates’ job search behaviors.
How to highlight corporate sustainability in job descriptions
Understand your organization’s sustainability commitments
Job seekers may be very motivated to apply to work with sustainable companies, but that doesn’t mean you should set out to write green job postings without fully understanding your organization’s policy.
Transparency and accuracy are key; misrepresenting your company or organization as having a greater positive environmental impact than it truly does could be disastrous. So start by getting to know your organization’s sustainability commitments. Is your corporate office carbon-neutral? Do you use organic or sustainably sourced ingredients in your products? Do you have a policy limiting executives’ air travel to reduce carbon impacts? The greater clarity you can provide job seekers with, the more compelling the case for your organization’s sustainability commitment will be.
Focus on the full product or service lifecycle
Move beyond the traditional corporate mindset, which takes a limited view of environmental impacts.
Your organization’s impacts aren’t limited to those parts of the manufacturing or supply chain process you can control; environmental impacts extend to the entire lifecycle of a product or service. The vendors you work with to source raw materials or obtain services are also part of your environmental impact. And, if you sell a product, it continues to exist in the world after you’ve sold it, creating waste.
This type of environmental accountability and regenerative commerce is called a closed-loop system, and many sustainability experts think it’s the key to reducing waste and creating a more environmentally friendly economy.
How does your organization take responsibility for its direct and indirect environmental impacts? What sustainability standards do you expect from your vendors? How do you ensure sustainability across your entire business lifecycle? These are some potential topics you can touch on in a green job posting.
Set goals and establish accountability
Transparency and accountability are necessary features of any organization’s sustainability commitments. You need to be clear about what exactly your organization is aiming for. Are you creating a closed-loop system? Decarbonizing your corporate office? Purchasing carbon offsets for the products you ship? Set goals and be public with them— on your website, social media, and green job postings!
Recognizing where you currently fall short is necessary to seem realistic and genuine with your sustainability commitments. Expect candidates, customers, and employees to hold your organization accountable to these goals.
Post on green job boards
If your company works in the sustainable manufacturing or renewable energy sectors, you might consider widening the reach of your green job posting by sharing it on one of the green job boards.
Boards like GreenJobSearch.org and EcoJobs specifically feature jobs in these industries. If your green job posting is less explicitly focused on sustainability and environmental conservation, you might consider posting it on a more broad (but still impact-focused) job board, such as Idealist or Work for Good.
Work with a sustainability consultant
A sustainability consultant can help your business navigate any stage of this process. Whether you’re setting new sustainability goals, creating systems to achieve your goals, reforming your manufacturing process, or simply refining how you communicate your sustainability commitments to the public, a sustainability consultant will offer insight, resources, and information. This person or group will be knowledgeable about the most current sustainable technology available to your business and the norms for communicating environmental impacts in your green job postings.
Encourage remote work
Since the pandemic, one of the main things candidates look for within a job posting is a role’s policy on remote, hybrid, and flexible work. You’ll likely be including this policy in your job postings anyway, so why not call out the environmental advantages of remote work?
Even a hybrid schedule in which employees commute to the office a few days each week slightly reduces emissions. Driving to work is terrible for the environment and can cause stress and other negative health impacts. Call out the environmental impacts of remote work policies in your green job posting to attract more candidates who care about sustainability.
85% of Americans say corporations are responsible for prioritizing sustainability and limiting environmental impact. With a broad consensus on the importance of taking steps to reduce climate change, there is a clear opportunity to include it in your job descriptions alongside other information about your company’s values.
Your job descriptions offer a transparent look at where your organization’s priorities lie for both consumers and candidates. Take advantage of the opportunity by creating green job postings that clearly articulate your organization’s sustainability commitments to attract the best possible job applicants.
Why I wrote this:
In an age of growing concern over climate change, green job postings present a unique opportunity to present your organization as a part of a more sustainable future. Candidates are increasingly searching for work they feel has purpose and a positive environmental impact. This fits into Ongig’s mission to help you create the best JDs to attract top talent. Request a demo to learn more.
- Majorities of Americans Prioritize Renewable Energy, Back Steps to Address Climate Change (by Brian Kennedy, Cary Funk, and Alec Tyson)
- Yale Climate Opinion Map
- Balancing Profit and Sustainability
- Sustainability Actions Speak Louder than Intent
- Gen Z, Millennials Stand Out for Climate Change Activism, Social Media Engagement With Issue (by Brian Kennedy, Cary Funk, and Alec Tyson)
- What the Data Says About Americans’ Views of Climate Change (by Brian Kennedy, Cary Funk, and Alec Tyson)
- The Internet and Job Seeking (by Aaron Smith)
- Employee Projections and Occupational Outlook
- Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
- Understanding Gen Z in the Workplace
- How Gen Z is Powering the Renewable Energy Transition (by Kate Urban)
- U.S. Energy & Employment Jobs Report
- Inflation Reduction Act of 2022
- Help Wanted: Manufacturing Sector Struggles to Fill Jobs (by Andrew Deichler)
- What’s a Closed-Loop System? (by Kristin Hunt)
- Green Jobs Search
- Work for Good
- How your Commute Affects Air Pollution and Climate Change
- The average American spent more than 9 full days getting to and from work last year (by Christopher Ingraham)
- What the Future: Purpose