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Blues of green roles: India Inc struggles with ESG talent gap

Globally, too, there is a shortage of green skills jobs - an OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) report in March found that "a green skills shortage across the OECD is holding back growth in sustainable development jobs and could jeopardise the race to reach net zero by 2050"

Source | | Indulekha Aravind, ET Bureau

When StepChange, a startup offering tech-based enterprise solutions in sustainability, went to a reputed campus recently to hire for climate science roles, they received over 100 applications but ended up selecting just one candidate. “Given the speed at which this space is evolving, we spend significant effort training people even when they come from the relevant background,” said Ankit Jain, co-founder and CEO of the startup whose clients include ICICI Bank and ITC.

If finding the right talent in climate science is tough for firms, the quest is no less challenging in the related but broader field of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) standards, which is seeing a spike in demand. “Climate change is the biggest issue our planet is facing. But there aren’t enough people with expertise in the sector,” said Nitesh Mehrotra, partner, sustainability and ESG, EY. Data from job portals indicate that both opportunities and interest in the sustainability sector, or “green jobs” are seeing a sharp spike. Globally, the sharing of job postings on LinkedIn requiring at least one green skill grew nearly twice as quickly as the share of green talent compared to a year ago, while in India, about 13% of paid job postings required green skills. According to job search portal foundit (previously Monster), there has been a 20% year-on-year increase in green job opportunities in May 2023, with the role of ESG analyst seeing the biggest share of vacancies at 19%.

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