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Pandemic Should Create Renewed ESG Urgency

As the world celebrates Global Goals Week and progress towards the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, the concept of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) has risen to the top of global agenda once again. Today there is more need than ever for organizations to prioritize Environment action, Social impact and good Governance.  

There has been much focus on Environment recently, as the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Change 2021 report declared climate change a “code red for humanity,” extreme weather events increase in frequency and organizations look ahead to COP26 to renew commitments to Net Zero. And yet, we don’t see the same urgency or alignment when it comes to Social - how business creates broader shared value for all.  

Even as the pandemic has continued to expose vulnerabilities and the vast equity gaps in our communities, the lack of agreement around how and what to measure means progress has stalled. The younger generations in particular are losing faith in social mobility and equalityand it’s clear that playing at the edges of Social is not enough.  

At ManpowerGroup, we have set clear priorities to report, measure and scale our impact when it comes to the of ESG. We believe it is about People & Prosperity – how we become creators of talent at scale, champion diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, and improve employability and prosperity for all.

Challenges that existed before the pandemic are now exposed in the full light of day  
Workers wanting to balance work and home for the long term (our research shows biggest fear after losing your job is going back to the way things were) also want to work for organizations that give them a strong sense of purpose. 

According to ManpowerGroup’s What Workers Want” survey, workers want to be proud of who they work for and what they do. Strong brands, solid reputation, great place to work and an opportunity to make an impact are in the top ten reasons to work for an organization.  

Workforces are paying more attention to the values and mission of a company and it’s impacting the recruiting game as well. Nearly 86of millennials would consider taking a pay cut to work at a company whose mission and values align with their own. 

The issue of skills  will come to the forefront after the pandemic as two key drivers of change significantly accelerate:  

  • Climate. The transition to Net Zero will require rapid structural change. Similar to other periods of transformation and technological upheaval, this will lead to demand for new skills and new, green roles, while others become obsolete.    

  • Digitization. While technology has created a more connected world and improved our lives in many ways, it has also contributed to growing polarization of the workforce between the Haves, those with in-demand skills, the Have Nots. This is closely linked to the broader growing focus on deepening inequities and need for social justice.  

The good news: upskilling and reskilling is on the rise.  Even in the peak of the pandemic, our research shows that 84% of HR leaders said they planned to implement reskilling and upskilling programs in the months ahead. When it comes to WHY they are reskilling, though social impact is a welcome byproduct, the driver is the foresight of having a future-proof workforce that can execute on the business strategy today and tomorrow.  

Now, maybe more than ever in our living history, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to predict, prepare and support by building employment security not job security so people have sustainable skills for the long term. Helping people to pre-skill, upskill and reskill for in-demand roles was important before the pandemic and is even more critical now – to create a better workplace where everyone is able to unleash their full potential and have a more equitable share of the prosperity.     

We are committed to Working to Change the World - join us.