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Jobseekers Need to be Fluent in ESG

During the hiring process, engineers and technical professionals need to demonstrate expertise in math and science. English skills are also important.

To make the final cut for the next wave of economic growth, they must also be fluent in ‘ESG’.

If you’re not familiar with the term, ESG stands for Environmental, Social, & Governance. Multinational companies are highly sensitive to public perceptions of their environmental and social policies, and ethical corporate governance.

Sustainability, transparency, racial and gender equity are more important than ever to investors, stakeholders, social and environmental groups. The Stock Exchange of Thailand requires all listed companies to issue annual sustainability reports. With investment firms paying close attention to sustainability issues, a negative ESG rating can really affect the bottom line.

Here in Thailand, NetZero – the global initiative to address global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions – is a centrepiece of PTT and Banpu’s corporate policies. The oil and coal giants insist that sustainability will be the key to a successful reboot of the economy. And they’re not alone.

As we bounce back from the global covid slowdown, global industries are seizing this moment to pledge their commitment to ESG, to reset and re-evaluate priorities.

HR departments are responding to the ESG initiative. A new type of employee profile is emerging, in keeping with ESG and NetZero policies. HR is looking for candidates who can help make manufacturing and refining processes more environmentally friendly. This is reflected in a new set of interview questions that candidates must be prepared to answer.

Recently, I was involved in recruiting management trainees for a big retail company. Some of the questions they asked: How will you make products for consumers who want to make an environmentally friendly choice? How would you reduce waste in the company? What activities have you participated in your hometown to improve the quality of life?

Employee attitudes towards ESG are increasingly important. I advise university students, fresh graduates, and junior-level professionals to be active with environmental organisations, volunteer for cleanup activities, even take some environmental studies courses.

Candidates should be prepared to answer interview questions about reducing waste and emissions, recycling plastic, and energy efficiency. They may be asked what they have done personally to help clean up the environment, or to live more sustainably.

It is important to HR that new hires not only have the technical ability for Industry 4.0, but that they are also good brand ambassadors for the company’s ESG profile.