• Younger workers are driving a new phenomenon called ‘climate quitting’
  • Climate quitting is when people reject jobs based on the company’s ESG credentials
  • Stockhead reached out Talent Nation’s Richard Evans, and Moir Group’s Lisa Tracy


Over the last few years, new words and phrases have entered our day-to-day vocabulary.

Buzz words like ‘new normal’, ‘herd immunity’, ‘WFH’ and ‘zooming’ have been among the highest used phrases during the pandemic according to researched data.

In the job market, the term ‘great resignation’ has also been used extensively by media to describe the ongoing phenomenon where mass swathes of people quit their jobs …. and sometimes, the employment system altogether.

Then you’ve got ‘quiet quitting’, which is when employees continue to put in the minimum amount of effort to keep their jobs, but don’t go the extra mile for their employer.

And now, the latest buzz word to have entered the lexicon is the phrase ‘climate quitting’ or ‘green quitting’.

Climate quitting essentially happens when employees leave their jobs in order to seek out a more environmentally friendly one, or reject roles based on their social or environmental credentials.

This recent phenomenon is largely being driven by Gen Z and Millennial workers, who are starting to question why they want to spend a third of their lives doing something that doesn’t align with their personal values.

“People want to be part of something,” says Ally Boulton, chief of staff of Connect Earth.

“They can see that the climate is changing, and they want to make a difference by being part of a solution rather than part of a problem.”


How ESG concerns led to climate quitting

According to a recent survey by KPMG, ESG factors are indeed influencing employment decisions for millennials and younger workers.

Of the 6,000 workers surveyed, 46% want the company they work for to demonstrate a commitment to ESG, while 20% have turned down a job offer when the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values.

Those aged 25-34 are the most likely (55 per cent) to value ESG commitments from their employer, but 18-24 years olds (51 per cent) and 35-44 years old (48 per cent) are not far behind.

When it comes to looking for a new role, one in five respondents (20 per cent) said they had turned down a job because the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values, rising to one in three for 18–24-year-olds.

Richard Evans, the CEO of sustainability recruitment firm Talent Nation, says he’s not surprised that this is happening.

“We have seen a significant increase in demand for capability, but also an increase in demand from job seekers that wish to join more environmentally and socially responsible organisations, or transition into more purpose driven roles,” Evans told Stockhead.

And because we’re living in a digital age where information is available 24/7, it’s very easy to determine the ESG credentials of an organisation.

According to Evans, as an employee the place where you work forms a part of your identity, and if your workplace is having a detrimental impact on the planet and society then, as an employee, you can’t distance yourself from that.

“On the flip side, if you are working for an organisation that is a BCorp, like Patagonia for instance, then there is a sense of pride around being associated with a brand that is an ESG leader,” Evans added.

Lisa Tracy, an ESG specialist at recruitment firm Moir Group agrees, and says that ESG considerations have become increasingly important for Australian job seekers in recent years.

“This shift reflects a growing awareness and concern among the younger generation about ESG practices of the companies they work for,” Tracy told Stockhead.

“Companies that align with ESG values are more attractive to candidates who are looking for not just a job, but also a sense of purpose and ethical alignment in their careers.”


Greenwashing and greenhusing

Employers meanwhile are responding to these changes by incorporating ESG principles into their core values and operations.

Such changes not only make companies more appealing to job seekers, but also contribute to long-term sustainability and success.

Evans however believes that if a company is changing the way it approaches ESG just to attract talent, then it’s disingenuous and difficult to sustain – and will ultimately have a detrimental impact on employee engagement.

“We are however seeing organisations that are leaders in this space promoting their actions and credentials, as this is definitely a competitive advantage for them in attracting talent,” Evans said, adding that these companies will have greater retention because people who join are aligned to their mission.

Tracy meanwhile said that ESG-conscious job seekers have raised concerns about ‘greenwashing,’ where organisations may exaggerate or misrepresent their environmental and social credentials.

There’s also a growing issue of ‘greenhushing,’,  she said, where companies with strong ESG track records may not effectively communicate their ESG efforts to potential candidates.


Lisa Tracy, Moir Group


“Addressing both greenwashing and greenhushing is crucial.

“Genuine ESG integration not only makes companies more appealing to job seekers, but also contributes to long-term sustainability and success,” said Tracy.


What job recruitment firms are doing

These days, most recruitment firms understand the significance of ESG considerations in the job market.

To address these concerns, companies like Moir Group often work closely with both employers and candidates to create mutually beneficial matches.

Moir for example makes this happen by facilitating meaningful ESG-centred networking events to help bridge the gap between job seekers and employers.

At Talent Nation, Evans acknowledged that his firm is working with clients that are heavy emitters but which are transitioning to net zero at the same time.

He believes that transparency is the key to ensuring that you can attract the right people to your organisation that are aligned to your culture and values.

“Every organisation is different, and at different stages of their ESG journey, so it is important not to overstate your credentials,” Evans said.

“The key thing is to understand the values, drivers and motivations of the jobseekers and ensure that they align with that of the employers.

“Having worked with organisations, and individuals, in this space for as long as we have, we know the market intimately.

“We advise our clients and candidates to ensure that they’re making judgements around who they employ, or where they work, to render their concerns negligible,” said Evans.