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A third of young workers believe their employers don’t care about sustainability

With World Earth Day approaching, new research underscores a growing expectation among UK workers for companies to prioritise sustainability.

Ahead of World Earth Day, new research* finds that workers across the UK are increasingly focused on sustainability and expect their employers to do more – particularly younger generations.

Half (51%) of employees are keen to see their company invest more in sustainability, rising to 61% of younger workers aged 18-34.

The research also reveals that over half (53%) would like to see their company investing in more sustainable benefits such as electric vehicles and sustainable pensions, similarly rising to two-thirds (66%) of 18–34 year olds – and these demands are not going unnoticed.

More than four in ten (44%) businesses report an increase in the number of employees asking for sustainable benefits, and over half (53%) say that they have noticed an increase in the employees who care about sustainability over the last year.

Despite this, employees, particularly younger ones, believe that their company could be doing more.

Although half (50%) of young workers now say that sustainable benefits are the most important perks to them, a third (33%) of this age group believe that their employers do not care about sustainability.

Moreover, the research reveals the worrying impact of this disconnect, particularly as younger generations increasingly enter the workforce.

Two in five (42%) aged 18-34, believe that poor sustainability initiatives have a detrimental impact on their morale at work. This not only leaves existing employees demotivated, but businesses at risk of failing to attract fresh talent.

Matt Russell, CEO of Zest comments: “It’s been a difficult few years for businesses, and the reality is that many – often not by choice – have been forced to put their sustainability initiatives on hold.

“Yet with the next generation increasingly populating the workforce, many of whom are naturally engaged in sustainability initiatives that will support their future, businesses must adapt to these changing demands. While many businesses will be focused on scope 1 and 2 emissions, a key area that can be overlooked in sustainability is benefits packages, for example electric vehicle schemes or sustainable pension funds.

“Not only will a greater focus on this better meet individual needs, improving overall employee proposition and the ability to attract and retain talent, but crucially it will assist with the UK’s broader journey to net zero.”

Adopting employee benefits technology can enable greater personalisation and flexibility of benefits – including more sustainable options. Using data and insights, employers can send targeted communications to employees to accommodate changing demands while ensuring that the right benefits reach the right employees at the right time.

Unfortunately, at present just 29% of employees believe that their company’s benefits platform supports their individual needs and two in five (39%) employees would like their company to invest in their benefits platform more to increase accessibility.


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