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The buzz around ESG in the finance sector keeps growing. Almost daily, experienced finance professionals reach out, interested to know if I have ESG vacancies or insights into how they might transition into this space. Similarly, these discussions are a regular feature with my clients. Yet, to be candid, while I’ve placed individuals in roles with ESG elements, I’ve never handled a strictly ESG-centric role.

With an increasing number of financial professionals pondering the shift, it’s an interesting area. Here’s some thoughts I have on transferring into an ESG-centric role, however, more importantly, if you’ve made the jump, we’d be keen to hear your experience.

Clients are undoubtably bolstering their ESG initiatives, however, my observation and feedback from clients is that a good number of these new roles are often filled internally due to high demand from existing employees. A quick LinkedIn search reveals just over 300 UK-wide roles with ‘ESG’ in the title, compared to a staggering 80,000 in ‘Finance’. I strongly suspect many ESG opportunities never see the light of day in the public domain.

ESG is vast, covering areas from climate change to corporate governance and sustainability. When eyeing a transition, it will be crucial to pick a niche and tailor your approach. Given the ESG boom, traditional roles, like those in internal audit and finance, might offer a bridge into this space. Increased demand in ESG reporting means these roles could well morph into ESG related roles. So, your next role might just be your stepping stone into ESG, consider this carefully if ESG is your end goal.

Effective networking will likely be key. Connect with ESG professionals through webinars, workshops, or forums. Sometimes, it’s less about available roles and more about the relationships you build and who you know. And, if you’re looking to make your CV stand out in the ESG space, hands-on experience, even if it’s through volunteering, can be invaluable.

To all finance professionals eyeing this transition, ESG doesn’t seem to be a passing phase, it’s almost certainly a reflection of the sector’s evolving priorities. Transitioning into the sector is likely to offer both financial rewards and the intrinsic satisfaction of contributing to critical global issues.

*While we regret not being able to provide more hands-on assistance to those looking to transition (we’re looking at ways to address this) I’m genuinely interested in insights. If you’ve journeyed through this transition, we’d greatly appreciate your perspective to further support the professionals we collaborate with.