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More than 1,500 vacancies for ESG specialists in 2024

More than 1,500 vacancies for ESG specialists in 2024

2024 marks the beginning of the CSRD, which makes sustainability reporting mandatory for more than 3,500 organisations. In turn, this is followed by the recruitment of ESG specialists that companies are increasingly choosing to hire.

In light of the introduced CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive), the Polish labour market is experiencing a significant increase in demand for ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) specialists. Polish companies, adapting to the requirements of the new directive, have an opportunity to strengthen their market position and increase their competitiveness through an integrated approach to environmental, social and governance management.

Key facts:

  • Approximately 3,500 organisations will be subject to ESG reporting obligations in Poland by 2026. Currently, there are 150 such companies. 
  • As many as 90 percent of the 3,500 companies have not dealt with the topic of ESG reporting before and need to prepare for it. 
  • According to KPMG’s 2023 report, only 15 percent of companies say they have a person in charge of sustainability. 
  • Analysis by Antal specialists shows that more than 50 percent of employers covered by the directive plan to recruit new ESG specialists.
  • Good prospects are opening up for sustainability experts in terms of compensation. Specialists currently earn between PLN 8,000 and PLN 12,000 gross, while managers earn as much as PLN 20,000 gross.

Who are the companies looking for?

Reporting obligations are becoming a challenge for many entrepreneurs who have not previously been subject to such regulations and have not built up the appropriate competencies within the organisation. 

People with experience in the field of environmental protection and engineering are most often sought after. Experts who deal with taxonomy or want to develop in this direction will also have no problem finding work. Their competence and knowledge are becoming indispensable not only in the reporting area, but also in the procedural area. In this regard, Antal recruiters support companies in the energy, manufacturing or transportation industries, says Roman Zabłocki, Business Unit Director, Antal Engineering & Operations.

Interest in sustainability is also growing in industries such as finance, technology and consumer services. Companies of multinational corporations, where units responsible for governance (G) are increasingly being established, are recruiting people with experience in legal, compliance and regulatory risk departments. Employers are also looking for HR professionals, as well as CSR and PR specialists to deal with the no less important ESG pillar – social policy and countering exclusion (S). ESG specialists are sought not only for reporting purposes, but also to provide strategic analysis and advice in areas such as risk management, innovation and sustainability.

According to a report by the Polish ESG Association, less than 50 percent of companies that published an ESG report in 2023 did so on their own. More than half of the companies reached out to outside consultants. This, in turn, is a good predictor for consulting companies – if the trend continues, ESG consulting will create a large competitive market, and demand will increase dramatically. 

ESG competencies – what should you know?

Above all, ESG specialists are expected to have a business-oriented approach that includes working closely with legal, procurement, quality, HR and business line teams. It is necessary to constantly upgrade skills due to the dynamics of changes, including, but not limited to, legal changes. Familiarity with ESRS, ISSB and GRI standards, BREEAM certification methods, knowledge of reporting or the ability to calculate a carbon footprint is a very important factor. These are key aspects for manufacturing and development companies in particular, says Adam Walczak, recruiter at Antal Engineering & Operations.

How much does an ESG specialist earn?

In light of legislative changes, it is becoming clear that the profession of ESG specialist will play a significant role in the future of the labour market, and companies must be ready for these changes to meet the growing challenges and expectations. There are good prospects for the future for sustainability experts in terms of not only where they work, but also what they earn. Currently, a specialist in this field earns in the range of PLN 8,000–12,000 gross, while a manager earns around PLN 20,000 gross. For directors and board level, these rates are increasing.

It is not only in the ESG field that new professions are emerging. DE&I (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion) experts, who are responsible for creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusivity in organisations, are also currently being sought. In 2023, a DE&I specialist earns between PLN 8,000 and PLN 18,000 gross per month, and a DE&I director earns more than PLN 25,000 gross per month.

Sustainable leadership – expectations of leaders

Linking leaders’ compensation to ESG goals is becoming increasingly popular. This allows for better integration of ESG practices into the company’s strategy and operations, and increased accountability and engagement of leaders on these issues. According to a study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 50 percent of CEOs from large companies and more than 30 countries already receive compensation that is tied to their company’s achievement of specific sustainability goals. 

ESG is a business opportunity for companies 

  • Responsible business conduct is no longer required only by activists, but also by consumers, business clients, financial institutions or investors. More and more investors and banks see socially responsible companies as less risky. 
  • According to E&Y, 97 percent of investors consider non-financial information important in making investment decisions. Thus, for many companies, ESG reporting means easier access to capital and a lower cost of raising capital. 
  • The Nielsen survey found that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from socially and environmentally committed companies. 
  • Implementing a sustainability strategy in an organisation is also important in terms of attracting the best talent on board. According to the Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study Report, 76 percent of millennials say that a company’s ESG activities are crucial when choosing an employer. 
Organisations that fail to respond in time to market and regulatory trends related to ESG may suffer the consequences in the form of lost contractors, public contracts, impeded access to capital and even problems recruiting talent. That’s why ESG should be looked at as a business opportunity, says Adam Walczak, recruiter at Antal Engineering & Operations.

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