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Advancement Trumps Green as Recruitment Tool

By Kathy Gurchiek  10/18/2007
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Kermit the Frog was right: It’s not easy being green.

An ecologically friendly workplace is not high on many job seekers’ lists, to judge by the more than 6,200 professionals who set up career web sites that were analyzed by online job service Jobfox. The personal web pages showcase each site’s creator’s skills, talents and wish lists.

Instead, opportunity for advancement tops the list of what candidates most often look for in their next job.

Far down on the list—18th out of 20 factors, in fact—was whether an employer was ecologically friendly, Jobfox found.

Slightly more, or 9 percent, want a shorter commute in their next job.

“Professionals might be turning in their SUVs for Mini Coopers and hybrids, but, when it comes to career-advancement opportunities, dreams of greater leadership responsibilities, better rewards and stimulating workplace cultures still rule,” Jobfox founder and CEO Rob McGovern said in a press release.

When creating a Jobfox page, a candidate may choose up to five items—pre-selected items and those they can add themselves—that the candidate considers important features of his or her next job.

According to Jobfox’s analysis, candidates most often seek:

    • An opportunity to advance, cited by 55 percent.

    • More leadership responsibility, 41 percent.

    • Work/life balance, 38 percent.

    • Leadership that is respected and admired, 36 percent.

    • A sense of accomplishment, 36 percent.

    • A higher salary, 28 percent.

    • 401(k) matching, 28 percent.

    • A flexible schedule, 27 percent.

    • A collaborative environment, 22 percent.

    • Performance bonuses, 20 percent.

“Inside many organizations, people are taking initiatives to ensure their workplaces are eco-friendly,” McGovern said. “But for now, very few job seekers are making career choices based solely on a company’s ability to demonstrate environmentally friendly practices.”

There is an increase in the number of job seekers who want to work for eco-friendly employers, or in industries helpful to the environment, according to a survey of 2,473 U.S. adults conducted the second week of March 2007. However, it’s an important factor for only about one-third of U.S. workers, SHRM Online reported in April.

The Jobfox analysis refutes an April 2007 prediction by John A. Challenger, CEO of global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., that being eco-friendly could give employers an edge in recruiting the best and brightest young people during a tight labor market.

A decade ago an “eco-friendly” workplace meant an employer “simply kept a recycling bin in the break room. Today’s environmentally conscious workers are more demanding,” Challenger said.

“A company is not even considered green unless it makes a significant commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, from the products and services it offers to the way it heats and cools its offices,” he added.

He cited an April 2007 Harris Poll survey, released close to Earth Day, that found 33 percent of Americans would be more inclined to work for a green company vs. an organization that does not make conscious efforts to promote socially and environmentally friendly practices.

Kathy Gurchiek is associate editor for HR News . She can be reached at

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