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Sustainability is the concept of striking a balance between economic profitability and social and environmental impact, creating a workplace that is efficient, productive, and sustainable in the long term. And it has become an essential topic in today’s world. It’s a subject that concerns everyone, everywhere: it’s about our planet, our lives, and how we build our collective future. Therefore, we wanted to know more about what professionals think about sustainability in the workplace.
Conducted between May and June 2022, the Sustainability Insights study surveyed 4,755 workers and jobseekers across continental Europe to discover their thoughts on what role sustainability plays in their day-to-day and in their work life. As well as their perceptions on whether the companies they work at are doing enough… or not!
The survey was structured around 4 areas, covering professionals' opinion on the different aspects of sustainability at the workplace: influence level in the workplace, personal values and behaviours, influence of sustainability on job search and perception of companies’ activities.
In Europe, diversity and inclusion in the workplace can still be improved. While 32% of the respondents say they feel completely themselves at work, 68% think the opposite. Among them, 57% say they prefer to keep their professional and private lives separate by choice and 27% say it’s also because they fear professional discrimination. But there’s a difference of views inside Europe on this subject. In the Netherlands, we see that as many as 90% of respondents feel they can be themselves at work.
Being discriminated at work can have devastating effects on employees, even more so when it’s repeated. When we asked Europeans workers how often they experienced discrimination at work, 18 % said they are discriminated against often or all the time, 33 % said they are likely to face discrimination occasionally and 49 % said they have never faced discrimination.
Among factors of discrimination at work, age is the most reported one. 34 % of all respondents say they have suffered age discrimination and this number reaches 41 % for those aged 50 or older. Those discriminated against are more likely to say they are not their true self at work and try to protect themselves.
Discrimination against women is also significant, three times more female respondents report facing gender discrimination at work (38% against 12%). And gender discrimination rises with seniority, as 31% of C-suite respondents say they faced gender discrimination in their workplace at least once in the past year, against 21% of non managerial employees.
Sustainability commitments make companies more attractive to candidates. In fact, 66% of Europeans workers say that “company´s sustainability commitments are important when applying for a job at that company”. But where do candidates go to learn about a company’s sustainability commitments? 49% say they use companies’ websites, 32% use companies’ social media accounts and 24% expect to hear from sustainability in job interviews.
But there’s room for improvement to make employees’ habits more sustainable as well, 6 out of 10 workers saying they go to work using their personal car and only 3 out of 10 using sustainable transport. Companies therefore have a role to play to encourage green commuting,
It’s a well-known fact: happy employees are more productive and more motivated. When we asked Europeans what the mental health and well-being actions are they valued the most when looking for a new job, 64% said flexible working conditions, 52% manageable workload and 41% recognition of work.
As you can see from the results of our survey, the subject of sustainability is a wide one and there’s still a lot to do for companies on the path to being completely sustainable. But how does your company perform in that area? Do our self-assessment test and find out!