ESG Jobs in the US
The Biden administration is chasing a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 target in the fight against climate change. This means that carbon is the hot topic for US businesses, who are reacting to incentives put in place by President Biden to produce lower carbon emissions.
“The US is really focused on carbon, primarily because a number of executives in its larger corporations, such as Apple, have a percentage of their salaries tied to carbon targets,” says Neil Chandaria at Advance Careers. “There are a lot of renewables, and a lot of new technology around carbon reduction, coming out of the US; it’s being driven really hard, with California well in the global forefront technologically-speaking, thanks to funding from Biden.”
So, what does this mean for the US ESG job market?
Firstly, this is a great time to be an ESG professional. Lying relatively dormant for so many years in the eyes of global business, the field of ESG and sustainability is finally being given the attention it deserves. Thus, demand for ESG experts is booming across numerous professional services, from finance and investment firms to real estate companies and NGOs.
Once upon a time, ESG jobs could be simply stated as entirely data-driven. Now, however, the focus has shifted and the expectation is that those working in ESG also possess a deep understanding of the business and how to integrate ESG considerations into the forefront of business strategy. They really need to be able to understand and identify the connectives between what is driving value for the business.
Recruiters, hiring managers and HR departments are looking for individuals with impressive leadership skills, who can talk to and inspire stakeholders from a multitude of backgrounds and who can play strategist, business connoisseur, financier and regulatory expert, all rolled into one. Of course, candidates like this are essentially unicorns. So, while the perfect ESG candidates may currently be out of stock, businesses are falling over themselves to snatch up anyone with even a hint of ESG experience. As a result, candidates are finding themselves inundated with offers and counteroffers, pay increases and enticing salaries.
It is unrealistic for employers to hold out for that ESG ideal, something the majority of businesses realise. As a result, they are thinking more creatively about their candidate search, sourcing people with adjacent skills and transferable experience that make them eligible for training into an ESG or sustainability role. Alternatively, hiring managers will look to ESG and sustainability courses at entry level, take those junior professionals and train them in the analytics required of working in ESG.
Unlike a lot of other areas, the foundation for a career in ESG does not only derive from strong technical skills, it is as much about an individual’s attitude and personal conviction. The nature of ESG and sustainability is underscored by influence, persuasion, resilience, education and facilitation.