48% of Gen Z would leave an employer who cannot keep sustainable promises

Generation Z promisesNearly half (48%) of Generation Z workers would consider leaving a job that did not follow through on in its promises on sustainability, according to new research.

Bupa’s latest Bupa wellbeing index revealed that despite the cost-of-living crisis, employees are willing to take a 19% reduction in pay to work for a more ethical or environmentally-friendly organisation, with younger workers willing to take a 23% pay cut.

Two-fifths (42%) of workers would accept a job on lower pay to work for a more ethical or environmentally-active organisation, rising to 66% among the Gen Z demographic, and 42% said a lack of social or environmental issues action by their employer has a negative effect on their mental health, up from 33% in 2021.

Employees want more of a say and to see tangible action on sustainability and net-zero targets, with 21% believing it to not be enough for senior leaders to put out promises on sustainability without getting input from the wider workforce, rising to 29% among Gen Z.

Over half of Gen Z staff (56%) said putting forward sustainable and eco-friendly initiatives to leadership, and seeing these come to fruition, would make them more motivated at work and would drive productivity, loyalty and talent retention. They said they favour working with eco-friendly start-ups and innovators, rather than sticking with set practices.

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Rachel Murray, head of employee health and wellbeing at Bupa Global and UK, said: “For younger workers, it’s essential that their employer is setting and meeting ambitious sustainability goals that they can see is making tangible change. Many Gen Z workers in particular feel their generation is responsible for protecting the environment, a pressure that can take its toll on wellbeing and mental health in the workplace when they see practices that go against good sustainability action.

“Giving people more of a direct say in what initiatives they want to see is likely to become more widespread within UK businesses, allowing the workforce to feel more invested in both business performance and creating a better world.”