Not Easy Being Green, but May Help Attract Young Hires

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Earlier this week I blogged about companies that consider the social responsibility policies of suppliers as part of their outsourcing agreements. Not everyone buys this, however. One of the sources in the Computerworld article about the trend, an attorney, says few companies look beyond costs, delivery times and data security as they evaluate outsourcing providers -- a situation she doesn't think will change any time soon.


Social responsibility does appear to be on the minds of some, however, as evidenced by results of a recent Harris Interactive survey. Thirty-six percent of respondents said they'd be more inclined to work for a "green" company, reports businessGreen.com. The desire for a "green" employer was higher among younger employees. More than two-thirds of Generation Y workers wanted to work for an environmentally responsible company, vs. 52 percent of baby boomers.


Younger folks also showed a greater willingness to settle for lower compensation in exchange for working for a "green" company, according to the survey. Among the third of respondents who said they'd be willing to sacrifice a portion of their salary, Generation Y workers would be willing to give up, on average, 6.2 percent of their wages. Boomers were only willing to forgo 2.5 percent of their pay.


This may mean that employers will need to tweak their policies in order to attract socially conscious young hires. As I blogged back in October, many young folks entering the job market are putting a premium on employment features other than salary, including flexible schedules and opportunities for independent work. A key question moving forward, I wrote:

How much will companies ask their employees to change, and how much will they be willing to change themselves?

Telecommuting is a benefit that could allow employers to appeal to workers' desire for a more equitable work/life balance, as well as an environmentally conscious workplace. The American Electronics Agency recently released a report citing an earlier study from the Environmental Protection Agency that says $4.5 billion worth of gas would be saved and 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide averted if employees that could feasibly work from their homes did so 1.6 days per week.