News: Southeast Asians on a quest for meaningful work: Is ESG the answer?

Employee Engagement

Southeast Asians on a quest for meaningful work: Is ESG the answer?

Beyond the desire for a high-paying job, workers in the region care about their social and environmental impact.
Southeast Asians on a quest for meaningful work: Is ESG the answer?

Southeast Asian workers value purpose-driven work, with more than half of them considering this as they plan their next career moves. 

In a survey of over 2,000 workers from six countries, 98% say finding meaning in what they do is vital to their career journey. Meanwhile, 53% say they want to achieve this, according to data from Jobs_that_makesense Asia and the recruitment firm Manpower, which led the study.

This isn't to say, however, that Southeast Asians don't value the traditional perks of holding down a job, such as a good pay. In fact, 45% of workers polled say a good salary and financial stability are a top consideration for them when job hunting.

Whereas workers in western cultures, for example, would want a good-paying job to fund their individual pursuits, workers in SEA tend to aim for financial gain to be able to provide a stable and comfortable life for their families.

Meanwhile, a third of respondents also consider whether a role gives them a positive work-life balance before taking on an offer.

Opting for ESG-centric employers

When it comes to deriving meaning from work, living out ESG principles is top of mind for workers in the region. More than half expect their employers to be more proactive in advancing sustainability; creating more ESG-focused roles in the organisation; and offering their employees learning programs centred on such initiatives.

The study also presented workers' views on the social aspects of ESG performance. Workers in SEA expect organisations to:

  • Enhance working conditions with flexible hours, comprehensive health insurance and equal pay (74%)
  • Advocate for DEI and other social causes (72%)

Workers are planning their next career move

Most professionals in SEA believe any role has the potential to "contribute to the betterment of society and the planet" (86%), but some are thinking of switching careers to pursue a more purpose-driven, more impactful role (53%). 

Among those who have made the switch, more than 4 in 5 report higher levels of job satisfaction after their transition.

Where do purpose-driven employees prefer to work? It depends, in part, on a company's reputation for social responsibility. Overall, 77% of workers in the region gauge their potential employer for their commitment to values.

"We are seeing a distinct shift towards integrating sustainable practices into various job roles, which is a positive development," said Léa Klein, CEO of Jobs_that_makesense.

"The workforce is increasingly committed to sustainability and DEIB practices, necessitating the expansion of sustainability-driven roles and upskilling programs."

Only a few are 'very satisfied' with their role

While most workers are determined to work for purpose-led organisations, only 1 in 5 respondents (21%) report feeling "very satisfied" with the meaning they've found in their current roles.

Offering purpose-driven work can, therefore, distinguish top employers from other organisations vying for talent in the region, analysts said.

Read full story

Topics: Employee Engagement, Culture, Talent Acquisition

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?

Your opinion matters: Tell us how we're doing this quarter!

Selected Score :