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9 in 10 young British Columbians prefer socially responsible employers, says survey

BCAA report highlights how demonstrating purpose can be a competitive advantage for B.C. businesses.
British Columbia's young workforce prioritizes social responsibility over salary in the latest BCAA survey.

Younger British Columbians prefer to work for socially responsible companies and some will even take a pay cut to do so, according to a new survey.

Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of Gen Z’s and young millennials on the West Coast say they wanted to work for socially and environmentally responsible companies, according to a survey of 18-34-year-olds British Columbians released by B.C. Automobile Association (BCAA) earlier this month.

More than two in three (61 per cent) respondents said they would only work for responsible companies, and nearly half (49 per cent) said they were willing to take a slight pay cut to do so.

“We’re getting more applicants from that 18 to 34 year old age demographic and we're seeing some trends, so we wanted to do some research to see if that was industry-wide,” said Shawn Pettipas, director of corporate purpose at BCAA.

Pettipas said it is common these days for applicants to ask questions during the interview about the company's values and practices in bettering the world.  

“We're seeing this on a daily basis, the vast majority, if not all of our applicants who fall within that age range are asking, ‘What do you do for communities?’ 'How are you a good business?’ It's never about how much is your bottom line. It's about all the other things that you do to be a good corporate citizen,” said Pettipas.

“The expectations are really high on being socially and environmentally responsible. It's a bit of a values alignment because they're leading with their values, so they want businesses that lead with their values.”

The survey also shows that more than two-thirds (65 per cent) of 18-34-year-olds in B.C. said they’d work harder for companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.

Pettipas said companies' ability to demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility, and communicate it to potential employees is key to attracting talent today. That's why BCAA has published an impact report to showcase its plans and actions in this area.

“From our position, we really do see that as the future of work and to get the best talent, you're going to need to be in this space,” said Pettipas.

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