Climate quitting - younger workers voting with their feet on employer’s ESG commitments

One in three 18–24-year-olds have rejected a job offer based on ESG record

One in three 18–24-year-olds have rejected a job offer based on ESG record

New research released by KPMG today shows that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors are influencing employment decisions for almost half of UK office workers, with millennials and younger workers driving the growing trend of ‘climate quitting’ – seeking out a more environmentally friendly job.

KPMG UK surveyed around 6,000 UK adult office workers, students, apprentices and those who have left higher education in the past six months on their attitudes to work. The findings highlight that almost one in two (46 per cent) want the company they work for to demonstrate a commitment to ESG, while one in five (20 per cent) have turned down a job offer when the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values.

Those aged 25-34 are the most likely (55 per cent) to value ESG commitments from their employer, but 18-24 years olds (51 per cent) and 35-44 years old (48 per cent) are not far behind.  And when it comes to looking for a new role, one in five respondents (20 per cent) said they had turned down a job because the company’s ESG commitments were not in line with their values, rising to one in three for 18–24-year-olds.

Shared values are also a key consideration with 82 per cent placing some importance on being able to link values and purpose with the organisation they work with.  Again, it is those in the age brackets between 18-44 that were most likely to agree: 18-24 are most likely with 92 per cent, 25-34 years followed on 86 per cent and 35-44 on 84 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, John McCalla-Leacy, Head of ESG at KPMG in the UK said:

It is clear from recent COP27 discussions that, while some progress is being made, there is still a long way to go if we are going to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. It is the younger generations that will see the greater impacts if we fail to reach this target, so it is unsurprising that this, and other interrelated ESG considerations, are front of mind for many when choosing who they will work for.

“For businesses the direction of travel is clear. By 2025, 75 per cent of the working population will be millennials, meaning they will need to have credible plans to address ESG if they want to continue to attract and retain this growing pool of talent.”

One in three (30 per cent) have researched a company’s ESG credentials when looking for a job, rising to almost half (45 per cent) for those starting out in the career (18–24-year-olds). The environmental impact (46 per cent) and living wage policies (45 per cent) were the key areas that were sought out as part of the recruitment process. Younger workers are most interested in fair pay commitments (18-34 at 45 per cent) while those aged between 35-44 are more likely (45 per cent) to be interested in the environmental impact of the work the company does.


Additional findings:

  • One in 10 (9%) are actively looking for a job linked to ESG, with 18–24-year-olds the most likely (14%) to be seeking a job linked to ESG

  • Two thirds (64%) of office workers admit that there are certain industries they refuse to work in for ethical reasons, but a clear commitment to ESG would change the minds of 37%


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Research Methodology:

KPMG in the UK commissioned 72 Point (One Poll) to survey over 5,700 UK adults between 7th and 17th of October 2022. Respondents comprised of UK adult office workers, students, apprentices and those that have left higher education in the past 6 months. Respondents were asked various questions relating to the jobs market and what they look for from an employer. Over 1,000 of the respondents were students or school-leavers.


For further information please contact:

KPMG Media Relations

Claire Barratt

Mobile: +44 (0)7923 439264


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 15,300 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.43 billion in the year ended 30 September 2021.

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 145 countries and territories with more than 236,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.