Having a good climate plan and following through on it could help tech companies attract top talent.
Roughly 43% of tech workers say a company’s environmental impact is a “very important” factor when considering a new job, according to data from Morning Consult published on Tuesday. That's significantly more than the 30% of the general population that said the same, indicating that tech workers weigh a company’s environmental impact more heavily. While cutting carbon emissions is clearly in the climate’s best interest, the new polling shows how it could double as a recruitment tactic for Big Tech.
Only work-life balance elicited a larger gap between the share of tech workers who said it is “very important” when considering a new job (72%) and that of the general population (58%).
The survey defined tech workers as developers, software engineers, database administrators and project managers. There are a few caveats, as with any polling. The tech workers sample comprises 131 people, meaning the results come with a relatively large margin of error. And greater portions of both tech workers and the general public said things like salary, benefits or company culture matter more than a company’s climate bonafide.
Tech workers have already increased pressure on their companies to strengthen climate plans and follow through on their commitments, notably a movement within Amazon in 2019 to set more aggressive emissions goals in line with science and stop selling cloud computing services to the fossil fuel industry. (The leaders of that campaign lost their jobs, showing that internal activism comes with real risks.)
The new polling results indicate that employees could be ready to take an even greater role in shaping how tech companies address the climate crisis. Justin Gillis, a former journalist and co-author of the new book “The Big Fix,” told Protocol earlier this month that the tech industry is uniquely primed to listen to employee — potential or otherwise — input on climate, in part because it tends to skew both younger and more science-curious than the general public.Some organizations are trying to harness tech workers’ concerns about the climate crisis and put them directly to use. Climate Draft, a coalition of climate startups and VCs, just launched its second “draft” for tech workers looking to provide know-how to climate companies just getting off the ground as well as investors. In the absence of decisive action by the tech industry’s major players, some tech workers are leaving the field altogether to work in climate tech.