31 Jan 2022
by Liesl Bebb-McKay

Want to attract the best IT talent? It's time to get your "S" on!

Liesl Bebb-McKay of BBD Europe explores how companies can better engage tech talent in 3 steps.

If you haven't already noticed - sustainability is a thing! The (un)natural events of 2021 have not only put climate change and sustainability in general squarely on the agenda, but they have raised the volume on the importance of organisational purpose and compliance as a cornerstone of operating success. Sustainability practice has become an increasingly important element of regulatory compliance, but it has also become core to the talent attraction value proposition.

So how does this impact talent?

Whether we look at the UN Sustainability goals or ESG* or Sustainability strategy, the last couple of years has changed how these issues impact talent!

Much of sustainability focus puts effort into the E (environmental criteria) and G (governance practices), but it is in the Social that the talent impact is significant. If your sustainability strategy is more EG than ESG... it's time to get your S on! As New York Times best-selling author Stan Slap puts it, "This is not about what happened, this is about what happens next."

The Deloitte Global Millenial Survey makes it very clear why that S is so vital "millennials and Gen Zs aren't just resilient— they're channeling their energies into holding themselves and others accountable. They're the people most likely to call out racism and sexism and to shun companies and employers whose actions conflict with their personal values." According to Deloitte, a record 49% of people aged 18 to 25 and 44% of people aged 26 to 38 chose their preferred work or employers based on personal ethics, so it's more important than ever for employers to focus on a sustainability strategy. With top tech talent being some of the most sought-after global skills, tech employers need to be at the forefront of these moves.

Getting your S on in 3 steps:

Be the change you wish to see

The Deloitte survey highlighted that more than half (millennials 53%, Gen Zs 55%) see older generations standing in the way of progress. They want organisations to work together—governments, educational systems, and businesses—to drive change on a much broader scale. Inclusive organisations that invest in their talent and work towards a sustainable future will be most attractive.

Cultivate a culture of belonging

Diversity and inclusion have never just been topics that could be side stories for corporate strategies — they are leadership concepts that modern organisations need to grasp and embrace fully to ensure the sustainability of the corporate culture and business as a whole. And increasingly importantly, they are topics that we need to begin embracing fully in our daily lives. 

Belonging is at the core of inclusivity; people want to be seen, acknowledged, and allowed to stand shoulder to shoulder with all our difference. But also with all the rights and obligations that come with equality. The only way to figure this out is to get into a relationship with each other to create these spaces that will test assumptions and understanding and, importantly, be an organisation where inclusion practices exist entirely.

Hire with Purpose

The recruitment practice is a window into the soul of an organisation. Recruitment practices that are gender - and color-blind reflect an organisation that understands inclusion. The hiring and retention practices are a great place to start creating a culture of diversity and inclusion. Hiring practices of the future will focus on hiring for skills, mindset, and resilience. Talent will use these first glimpses to determine how sustainability-driven an organisation genuinely is.

As we move into the flow of 2022 and beyond, good business will lead to significant business, and sustainable companies will become winners in the talent game. Define your own SDG's and don't forget to get your S on!


Liesl Bebb-McKay

Liesl Bebb-McKay

Business Development Director, BBD Europe