As workers prioritize the environment, companies must ‘get on board’ or deal with ‘climate-quitting,’ experts say


 In 2023, a survey revealed that a majority of US workers, particularly from the Gen Z and Millennial generations, have considered or already quit their jobs due to their employers' inadequate environmental actions. This trend, known as "climate-quitting," reflects a growing desire among employees to work for companies that align with their environmental values. A similar pattern was observed in the UK, where a significant number of young individuals rejected job offers based on companies' Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) records.

The concern over climate change is escalating, with a survey indicating that 73% of American workers are anxious about it, and 61% desire stronger environmental initiatives from their employers. Additionally, 77% of Gen Z and Millennials in the US prioritize a company's environmental commitment when considering job opportunities. Even among older generations, 69% consider this a significant factor.

The trend of "conscious-quitting" extends beyond environmental matters, encompassing broader societal values, prompting employees to reassess if they want to work for organizations lacking responsibility and purpose. As climate concerns continue to intensify, experts forecast a surge in public demands for companies to take decisive actions.

The response to these calls for change involves both companies and employees. Companies are urged to prioritize ESG concerns to attract and retain talent. Notably, the McKinsey report highlighted that only 19% of companies globally were addressing ESG concerns to engage employees. However, there is recognition of a shift, with progressive organizations utilizing their environmental sustainability credentials to attract talent. For instance, Unilever's commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030 has solidified its reputation as an employer with strong environmental sustainability credentials.

On the other hand, employees are encouraged to exert influence on their employers to drive meaningful change. Organizations such as Climate Voice advocate for employees to pressure companies to take action on environmental issues. This approach, termed "climate-staying," emphasizes the importance of employees advocating for change from within the company. Tools like the Good Jobs First Violation Tracker can enable employees to assess a company's environmental impact and identify areas for improvement.

Furthermore, employees can leverage resources, such as the Employee Climate Action Guide from Climate Voice, to understand a company's climate impact and collaborate with colleagues to drive change. It is emphasized that employees should convey their love for the company while aiming to transform it into a force for good, as demonstrated by successful initiatives within companies influenced by internal pressure from employees.  

The U.S. labor market beat expectations again in December, adding 216,000 jobs to close out the year while the unemployment rate held steady at 3.7%.

Yet the job gains were slower than the same period a year ago, with the three-month average gain dropping to 165,000 a month compared with an average of 284,000 in December 2022, according to Nick Bunker, director of economic research for North America at the Indeed Hiring Lab.

“After entering 2023 with a sonic boom, the US job market is headed into 2024 at a comfortable cruising speed,” Bunker said. “The pace of job creation is strong but not overwhelming, unemployment is low and stable, and job openings are plentiful.”

Bunker noted that just a few sectors – education and health services, government, and leisure and hospitality – accounted for more than 75% of the job growth in December. He cautioned that “turbulence lurks on the edges of the radar” with labor force participation dropping toward year-end while wage growth accelerated.

“While labor demand may still be high, labor supply may be struggling to keep pace,” Bunker said. Nevertheless, the report should alleviate short-term recession fears, he said.

“If there’s any surprise emerging in this report, it’s that the labor market might have more momentum than previously thought,” he said.

The public sector led the way last month with 52,000 jobs, overwhelmingly in local government, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Health care also saw solid growth with nearly 38,000 jobs added, primarily in ambulatory care and hospitals. Job growth was strong in the sector throughout 2023, adding 55,000 positions a month on average compared with monthly gains of 46,000 in 2022.

Social assistance positions rose by 21,000 in December, with job gains averaging 22,000 per month in 2023, slightly more than the 19,000 average monthly increase in 2022.

The leisure and hospitality industry was little changed in December, adding 40,000 positions, with employment in the sector remaining below its pre-pandemic level by 1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The retail sector added 17,000 jobs to end the year, also little changed, with gains offset by a loss of 13,000 positions in department stores. Employment in the industry has struggled to gain speed since recovering from pandemic losses in 2022, according to the data.

Construction also trended upward with 17,000 new positions in December. The sector saw monthly gains of 16,000 in 2023 on average, compared with 22,000 in 2022.

Employment was little changed last month in mining, oil and gas, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and other services, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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