According to new data from Bupa, Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) are more anxious than any other age group about a range of social and environmental issues. The data shows they are prepared to prioritise their mental health over their earnings. One in three (31%) would turn down roles in companies with poor ESG credentials, and over half (54%) would take a pay cut to work for a business that reflects their ethics, on average sacrificing more than a quarter (27%) of their salary.
With mental ill-health costing UK businesses £45Bn a year, the research suggests that engaging employees with sustainability commitments will support their physical and mental health, and provide growing value to businesses as Gen Z saturate the workforce.
The Bupa data also shows that environmental and social commitments are a powerful tool in a challenging marketplace. Six in 10 Gen Zs (59%) and over half of people overall (52%) said they would stay longer with a company that had ESG commitments, as well as recommend it to others as a good place to work.
Employers with strong environmental and social commitments can also expect a boost to productivity – around half of people of all ages said they would be more engaged with their organisation overall (51%), more satisfied in their jobs (53%) and more productive (47%).
ESG commitments are a powerful tool in a challenging marketplace
Dr Pablo Vandenabeele, Clinical Director for Mental Health at Bupa said: “ESG commitments really can have an impact on employee mental health, so it’s important that businesses take note. A high salary for work that feels meaningless can only satisfy one for so long, whereas feeling like we’re contributing to the greater good and making a difference has a positive effect on our self-esteem. It can even reduce feelings of burnout, something that many people are struggling with after a tough couple of years.”
Sally Pain, Chief Sustainability Officer at Bupa believes the pandemic has underscored the inextricable link between healthy people, a healthy planet, and business performance. “And for Gen Z, workplace wellbeing is now a critical part of the ESG agenda.”
“As skills shortages bite across many sectors and businesses face a challenging year ahead, it’s easy to think that social and environmental commitments are optional. Our research shows that they are quickly becoming critical to success. For companies who want to build and nurture future leaders for their business, investing in strong targets that connect with their employees’ personal values is vital.”
Bupa’s workplace wellbeing experts have also issued a five-point guide for employers who want to support their employees’ wellbeing as part of their ESG goals.
The Research was carried out by Opinium Research among 2,000 UK adults, weighted to be nationally representative, in November 2021. The generational breakdown used throughout the study is as follows: Gen Z (18-22), Millennial (23-38), Gen X (39-54), Boomers (55-73), Silent (74+).
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