ESG’s new status as a talent retention strategy as much as an investment one might overstate the complexity of retaining top employees in a heated market. Employee leverage may play out in different demands varying by caregiving status, career level, gender, and generation, according to Mercer.

Personal fulfillment and purpose ranks near the middle of a pack of employee concerns, with ability to retire, physical and mental health, and child/elder care all coming out far ahead. The survey data shows that the post-pandemic workforce’s emphasis on what Mercer calls “Healthy experiences in exchange for sustainable performance” still relies on financial as well as mental and emotional supports. The data echoes earlier studies that shows employees prioritizing flexible work schedules and investment in development.

Somewhat more novel is the result that mission-oriented work is less of a priority. Earlier studies have shown the opposite, and many firms tout ESG policies as differentiators.

“ESG is important; it’s not only important in terms of doing the right thing,” says  William Blair head of corporate advisory Christina Bresani. “In terms of an employee retention strategy, the new generation of talent wants to know that you’re doing the right thing.”

Talent retention has moved to the forefront of considerations for private equity as a tight labor market and a M&A boom continues to place pressure on workforces.

Brandon Zero