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How important is climate change when job-hunting?

The concept of work has undoubtedly seen some big changes since the COVID-19 pandemic – with greater flexibility and a better work-life balance now dominating the employees’ preferences rankings. However, it looks like another major global event may soon cause a new shift in the job-hunting world: climate change.

According to the latest Climate Survey from the European Investment Bank (EIB), over three-quarters (76 per cent) of Europeans aged 20-29, see a prospective employer’s impact on climate change as an important factor when job hunting – with 22 per cent considering it a top priority. Whilst more broadly, 62 per cent of all Europeans said it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability.

Are young people in CEE ‘climate-conscious’ when job-hunting?

Looking specifically at Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), a similar picture can be painted. In Poland, 76 per cent of Poles aged 20-29 said that the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, whilst 16 per cent considered it as a “top priority.”

Interestingly, the survey was conducted in August 2022 – amidst a peak in sky-high energy prices and inflation figures. Despite these circumstances, climate and environmental concerns remained high on the agenda for a majority of Poles.

Poland’s neighbour, Lithuania, saw very similar results as 76 per cent of Lithuanians under 30 also saw “the climate impact” as a factor in their job-hunting process and 17 per cent considered it their highest priority. Searching further north, Estonia‘s respondents in their early 20s also shared the same figure for climate impact as a factor (76 per cent), however, this time a quarter of the respondents aged 20-29 (25 per cent) considered it as a “priority.”

In Hungary, young people’s “climate considerations” remained high, although slightly lower in comparison to the EU average: 72 per cent considered employer’s climate impact as a factor, whilst 19 per cent say it is a “top priority.” Looking at the broader population, more than half of the Hungarian respondents (59 per cent) said it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability.

In the Balkans, a slight drop was seen in Croatia in the percentage of respondents in their 20s who said that a sustainability strategy of prospective employers is an important factor (62 per cent).

Latvia and Bulgaria at the forefront

Among the Baltic countries, Latvia seems to be the most “climate-conscious” in the region. Latvia’s young population joined Poland and Lithuania with 76 per cent seeing prospective employers’ climate impact as a factor – with an impressive 35 per cent of under 30 respondents considering it their “top priority.” Attitudes towards climate considerations among the general population were also perhaps even more impressive – nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Latvians say that prospective employers ought to prioritise sustainability.

Bulgaria follows Latvia in positioning itself at the forefront among countries with the most climate-conscious societies in the CEE region. Similarly to the results seen in Latvia, most Bulgarian respondents (74 per cent) said it is important that prospective employers prioritise sustainability. Breaking it down to respondents in their early 20s: a staggering 83 per cent of Bulgarians aged 20-29 saw climate impact as a factor in picking a future employer, with 31 per cent considering it is even a top priority.

Interestingly, the emphasis on climate protection among job hunters may also be reflected in the high Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings of the most sought-after companies like Apple and Adidas. Indeed, another great example is the Swedish IKEA, which has in recent years focused on strengthening its sustainable supply chains through investments in circularity and renewable electricity.

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