How to get an ESG job (even if you don't know about ESG)
Do you need to know about Enviromental Social and Governance (ESG) issues to get a job in the ever-expanding area of ESG in financial services? No, you do not.
A new study of ESG hiring in hedge funds by HFObserver, a division of The Kronor Group, found that in some jobs in particular, candidates who've worked in ESG roles previously are in a minority.
As the chart below shows, HFObserver found that only 50% of portfolio managers in ESG roles in hedge funds actually had prior ESG experience. This fell to 44% for analysts in ESG hedge fund jobs, and to just 1% for risk managers.
While ESG qualifications and experience are becoming more widespread across financial services, the study therefore confirms that - for the moment at least - prior ESG experience is actually not imperative to work in the sector. This confirms comments earlier this year by recruitment firm Octavius Finance, who noted that in generic roles like ESG data analysis and risk management, it's data skills rather than ESG knowledge that are more important right now. This may change, however, as more people pour into the sector.
"Prior ESG job experience, while helpful, is by no means a pre-requisite at this pretty early stage in the hedge fund ESG talent cycle," says Claude Schwab at HFObserver. "This is opening up avenues for candidates from various backgrounds."
Even if you don't have ESG experience, however, the study found that it probably helps to have ESG mentioned at least somewhere on your resume. A "good number of people" had ESG certifications, says Schwab. Many were also affiliated with ESG organizations.
If you want to get an ESG job it may also help to be a woman. HFObserver's research found that women were better represented in ESG jobs than standard hedge fund jobs. Women accounted for 49.6% of ESG hedge fund hires, compared to just 28.6% of jobs in standard hedge funds.
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