A strong and integrated sustainability strategy enables organisations to better attract and retain employees, according to recruiting experts Hays.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), which assesses the sustainability and societal impact of businesses, has gathered significant momentum in recent years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses into survival mode and in some cases sustainability efforts slipped down priority lists. As the world begins to recover from the global pandemic, businesses must again move substantiality back near the top of their agenda. 

HSBC’s 2019 ‘Made for the Future’ report found that 24 per cent of organisations said that one of the driving forces behind their investments in sustainability is to improve their ability to recruit and retain the best people.

Tom Osborne, Managing Director of Hays Malaysia, comments, “There is real long-term value in establishing a robust sustainability strategy, committing to it by setting clear objectives, and ensuring its success. While there are clear moral reasons for doing so, there are also advantages in terms of attracting and retaining key talent, as it is becoming increasingly important to workers. In a skill short world this is vitally important, as it can help them avoid missing out on recruiting top talent. There are also the commercial advantages too, as it is just as important to existing and potential customers.”

Business travel accounted for 12 per cent of global transport emissions pre-COVID in 2019, equating to 915 million tonnes of CO2. However, since the beginning of the pandemic there has been a significant reduction in travel, there has been an overall reduction in air pollution of up 60 per cent which includes not only international travel but people’s daily commute too.  

Tom, says, “The need to work remotely has had a huge impact on carbon emissions, as there has been a large decrease in the number of people travelling. It’s important that we don’t simply slip back into our old ways, we have an opportunity to ensure there is continued and lasting change. For instance, adopting a hybrid working model - whereby professionals aren’t expected to work from the office five days a week - could be beneficial for a number of reasons. Not only will it cut down on travel, but it can act as an excellent way to attract and retain key talent.”

Many workers have stated that they wish to continue to work from home in some capacity once the pandemic has come to an end. A global survey undertaken by Slack in October 2020 revealed that 72 per cent of people would prefer a mixture of office- and remote-based working, with just 12 per cent wanting to return to the office full time.

Businesses will have also discovered other more sustainable practices during the pandemic and businesses can capitalise on this going forward. Video meetings have proved to be an effective tool in communicating when working from separate locations, if businesses reduce the amount of international business travel in future by conducting meetings virtually this would help reduce carbon emissions further and could have a big impact globally.

Businesses must also convince their workforce in the benefits of reducing their carbon footprint. In order for a business to be successful in reaching any sustainability targets, it needs to change attitudes within its organisation and will need buy-in from all employees.

Tom, says, “Many of the small actions in creating a culture of sustainability in the workplace – like turning off lights and computers at the end of the day, eliminating single use plastics or using recycling bins – come down to the behaviour of staff, so getting employee buy-in is crucial. This needs to come from the top down, with clear communications of how everybody has a part to play in its success.”

Hays recently announced its own intention to be the first global recruiter to become Net Zero in terms of carbon emissions by the end of 2021. As part of its ongoing commitment to Environmental, Social & Governance matters (ESG), Hays will set material, ongoing carbon reduction targets across its businesses to reach its Net Zero goal. Hays already recruits a large number of skilled workers into low carbon, social infrastructure and ESG roles, but will actively be looking to grow its ESG-related talent pools, helping to solve skill and talent shortages globally.

Alistair Cox, Hays CEO said, “The pandemic has taught us that global problems need global solutions. It’s only right that we ask ourselves what more we can do to help combat climate change. I passionately believe we all have a significant role to play in combating climate change. But by working together in unison, we can deliver even more.”

Alistair continued, “The transition to low carbon economies and effecting societal change impacts all of us and is arguably the greatest challenge mankind faces. As the global leader in our industry, we also want to take a prominent role in recruiting the talent to help make a difference.”

This issue is explored further in the latest Hays Journal.




About Hays Malaysia

Agensi Pekerjaan Hays (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd ("Hays Malaysia") is one of the leading specialist recruitment companies in Malaysia in recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across a wide range of industries and professions. We provide mid to senior level recruitment services across both finance and commerce industries. We have become known as the experts in sourcing regional and global candidates, as well as returning Malaysians.

Hays has been in Malaysia since 2012 and boasts a track record of success and growth, with two operating offices located in KLCC and Sunway. At Hays in Malaysia, we operate across the private and public sector, dealing in permanent positions in the following specialisms: Accountancy & Finance, Banking & Financial Services, Construction, Digital Technology, Engineering, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Manufacturing & Operations, Marketing & Digital, Procurement, Supply Chain and Sales.


About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is a leading global professional recruiting group. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2020 the Group employed c.10,000 staff operating from 257 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2020:

  • the Group reported net fees of £996.2 million and operating profit (pre-exceptional items) of £135.0 million;
  • the Group placed around 66,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 235,000 people into temporary roles;
  • 17% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 23% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 34% in Rest of World (RoW);
  • the temporary placement business represented 59% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 41% of net fees;
  • IT is the Group’s largest specialism, with 25% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (15%) and Construction & Property (12%), are the next largest
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA