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What is happening with ESG talent in real estate

Blog Posts  (10)

Article posted by Simon Jobson on Nov 23, 2022

Things are changing in the ESG space. There might still be an acute shortage of available talent, but the number of roles is visibly increasing, especially within the built environment. As companies ramp up hiring to be more ESG compliant, competition for relevant professionals is intensifying. This is creating challenges for companies in trying to attract and retain the right people to drive their ESG strategies forward.

There are a number of factors to consider surrounding what is going on within the current market;

Salaries – Market vs Expectation:

Salary benchmarking for current and future roles is the number one priority for ESG hiring strategies. With so many ESG roles being newly created across real estate, this creates the most important question: what do we need to pay our ESG & sustainability teams?

A common theme is that ESG responsibilities are often absorbed into a current staff members’ role (who isn’t a sustainability professional) with a nominal pay increase. This means they are being paid for what their job was previously rather than what the marketing is dictating. This in turn is creating large disparities in salaries because roles are not being properly benchmarked to establish correct salary bandings.

For example: 

Job Title



Sustainability Manager



ESG Analyst






 Couple the above with bonuses that were previously at 5-10% and are now tracking closer to 20-30%.

Unrealistic deliverables:

Whilst it’s great to see so many companies recognising the importance of hiring ESG professionals into their teams, in reality, there is not always a clear direction or a realistic goal in mind. Companies seem unsure who to hire, at what level, and what their remit should be. Strategies and time frames are being set without ESG professionals onboard which they are then expected to deliver on, which creates an expectation gap within the first few months of employment.

Limited talent pool

There are of course talented and established ESG & sustainability professionals within real estate, and recently we are seeing more move into the built environment from other sectors given the importance that ESG will play in our future. Companies that are seeing success are investing in long-term careers by creating more entry-level opportunities and development programmes that will enable them to have stable and committed teams that will deliver their short and long-term ESG strategies.

What next?

When it comes to attracting and retaining the best real estate ESG professionals, here are 4 ways you can stand out from the competition:

·        Pay people for the jobs they are doing, not what you think they are worth.

·        Build a legacy: invest at the junior level now.

·        Have a clear ESG strategy in place with realistic time frames.

·        Always have an achievable career plan.


If you need advice on building out your ESG team or looking for your next ESG role, we’re here to help. Please contact Simon Jobson or Olivia Marsdale.