Considerations for transitioning into an ESG job

Job Transition YouTube Thumbnail

Here’s a note from Lotti Hawkins following up on some thoughts from Nawar Alsaadi in this blog:

We get approached daily by those looking to transition into #esg and we wish we could dedicate more time providing personalised advice, but if we did we wouldn’t be able to do our day job of search for clients.

I read Nawar’s post which I thought was incredibly insightful. I have done a follow-on post angling it through our perspectives of being a specialist ESG search firm. Below are areas of advice for people looking to transition into this space:

1. This may sound silly but, be self-aware! What soft skills do you have, what types of job tasks do you enjoy. You can’t assume you would love to be an ESG Analyst, if you are not actually very good at analysis…

2. ‘I want to transition into ESG’. Sure, but doing what? ‘I’m very openminded’, fine, BUT the more you know about what types of roles you would like to do, the better your chances are at achieving the career change.

3. Risk VS reward of hiring you. Matt has a useful interview technique; you get an interview for an ESG role, so put yourself in the hiring managers shoes. To be blunt, you’re an alien to them if you don’t have #investmentmanagement knowledge. What are the risks of hiring you? The answers you give help decipher whether the rewards outweigh the risks.

4. Research! If a hiring manager doesn’t need someone with solid ESG investment experience, and the net is cast wide, prove you are genuinely interested in this space AND the role’s tasks. Keep up to date with the news. Interviewing for an ESG role in asset management in the US? Follow the #sec climate reporting proposal and link this into your answers.

5. Abbreviations. There are hundreds, and investment firms use them in interviews which can throw you. Learn them, especially ones relevant to the role and firm you are interviewing at. Not just those specifically on the ESG side; #UNPRI, #SASB, #CDP, #GRESB, #TCFD, etc, but the investment side too; GPs & LPs, RE, AIF, FoF, the FCA, UHNW and so on.

6. Align your own morals to the vision of a company, just because you get an ESG role doesn’t mean it’s right for you. WHY do you want to transition into ESG? Take the time to sit down and figure out where you want to be in 5-10yrs time and map out the type of work you want to do, and the type of firm, is it asset management or a PE firm?

7. Network. Attend webinars/events. The ESG industry is collaborative and often has open arms. You may not always get a reply (I am guilty of this) as ESG professionals usually have a forever growing mountain of work to do, but don’t be disheartened – build your network organically and thoughtfully.

8. As Nawar mentioned, remember we are in a global ESG transition. No one knows everything, no one can be a full ESG expert. Bring humility into your job search. There should not be any kind of ESG talent war, there are plenty of jobs to go around for the masses of people willing to dedicate their careers to it.