Build the Future: Why Apprentices Want Sustainable Employers

Jobseekers will look for many attributes in a company when deciding to apply for a role. A strong environmental ethos is quickly becoming one core value that employees seek the most. Sustainability and social responsibility are tied closely with the younger generation of workers. Some reports indicate a sharp alignment with a business’ sustainable strategy and its recruitment.

Meanwhile, the emphasis of apprenticeships as a viable alternative to university reinvigorates the competitive nature of employment among businesses. Companies vying for the best talent among young people are looking towards their environmental culture to persuade potential apprentices to join their teams.

Apprentices who are interested in the environment represent an ideal talent pool. They have strong ideals, are driven to make improvements, and show dedication to a cause. The Gen Z and the millennial mindset is focused on sustainability. This should mean more to companies looking to employ their next apprentices.

Here, we look at why businesses must adapt their recruitment processes and embrace sustainability to reach the best talent.

Millennial mindset

One study by Totaljobs found that 26% of UK workers would be willing to take a pay cut for a business that is environmentally responsible.

A further 28% of people said they would consider leaving their current job for a role in a more environmentally friendly company. Within the age range of 23-28, this rises to 50%.

The millennial demographic is a useful indicator to show the changing attitudes of young people. By 2025, millennials will account for approximately 75% of the overall workforce. This generation would take a salary cut — up to £8,100 per annum — for a business that demonstrated environmental care.

Businesses should cater to this generation of workers, who will consider this value an important attribute of a company. Businesses should look towards the 742,400 apprentices who are shaping the current workplace.

Many business leaders, including the Head of Sustainability at IKEA, Joanna Yarrow, suggest that young people are excited by the prospect of working for companies that play a positive role in society. This is supported by a PwC report that discovered 65% of people in China, Germany, India, the UK, and the US want to work for a company with a strong social conscience.

Think outside the box and focus on the globe

Adapting your business to engage with apprenticeships and sustainability are simple ways to revolutionise your corporate strategy. Go beyond the simplistic development of environmental and social policies. Making it the foundation of your business will give you a better chance of employing the best talent. Gudrun Cartwright, Environmental Director at BITC, comments: “For those that get ahead of the curve, the opportunities are immense.”

The implementation of corporate sustainability has a competitive advantage. Not only does it appeal to customers, but young talent pools will be driven by your choices and seek employment at your organisation. Utilising apprentices means that you can curate this culture of social responsibility while advancing the key skills within your industry.

These strategies show clear popularity and potential for growth. 30% of employees say they would work harder in an environment which offers such sustainability benefits. This reflects the old working cliché: you get out what you put in.

A cultured, well-taught, happy workforce leads to a high standard of work. Ultimately, this leads to improved customer satisfaction.

Promoting the best of your business

To put this change into effect, reaching out to apprentices and reflecting their values is essential. In fact, PwC’s study found that 36% of HR departments worldwide are “actually amending their recruitment strategies to focus on their business’ social and environmental stance.”

Appealing to apprentices, businesses should consider how they promote their business through recruitment. Companies may wish to emphasise their social conscience through apprenticeship job descriptions. Here are some strong examples:

  • As a business, we place a great importance on our social and environmental sustainability. In your role, you would be expected to replicate this every day.
  • Here at our business, we set out to act in an exemplary fashion. Whether this is regarding social conduct or the recycling of single use plastics, as an employee you must uphold these policies.
  • It is the cornerstone of our foundations to act responsibly in terms of sustainability. You, as an employee, are expected to display this in all aspects of your work.

Lynn Cahillane, Head of Marketing at Totaljobs, said: “With a widely reported skills shortage, employers have the opportunity to showcase a clear commitment to reducing carbon emissions and help tackle the climate crisis. A step which could make the difference in attracting the UK’s most sought-after workers.”

Apprentices will fill the void of this skills shortage, so appealing to this generation’s enthusiasm for social and environmental change is essential for creating the most productive workforce in the future.



Andrew Mcaffrey
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