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The battle for top sustainable finance talent

  • Publish Date: Posted 11 months ago


In recent years, the field of sustainable finance has seen significant growth as companies and investors increasingly prioritise environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their decision-making process.

One of the key skills that is in short supply is expertise in ESG analysis and reporting. This involves the ability to assess an organisation’s environmental and social impact and evaluate its governance practices. It also requires a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape and the ability to navigate complex reporting frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Another key area where there is a shortage of talent is in sustainable investment and portfolio management. This involves the ability to identify and analyse investment opportunities that align with ESG principles and deliver positive social and environmental outcomes while also generating financial returns. It requires a strong understanding of both financial markets, and a deep understanding of ESG metrics and data.

In addition to technical skills, sustainable finance roles also require a range of soft skills, such as stakeholder management, communication, and collaboration. Many sustainable finance professionals work closely with a range of stakeholders, including investors, regulators, NGOs, and corporate clients, and must be able to effectively communicate complex ESG issues to diverse audiences.

The shortage of talent in sustainable finance is a pressing issue for the industry, as it limits the ability of companies and organisations to fully integrate ESG considerations into their decision-making. It also risks slowing down the growth of the sustainable finance sector, which has the potential to drive significant positive impact in areas such as climate change, social justice, and environmental conservation.

To address this challenge, there are a number of initiatives underway to help build the talent pipeline in sustainable finance. For example, universities and business schools are developing new courses and programs that focus on sustainable finance and ESG analysis. Professional organisations such as the CFA Institute and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board are also developing new certifications and training programs for sustainable finance professionals.

One of the biggest challenges in recruiting for ESG and sustainable finance professionals is the relatively new and constantly evolving nature of ESG and the sustainable finance field. This progression has meant a shortage of experienced professionals with a deep understanding of ESG issues and how they relate to investment decision-making and sustainable finance in general.

To address this challenge, many organisations are looking to invest in training and development programs both internally and externally, with the aim of building the next generation of ESG professional. Although this may fix the problem in the long term as these programs will provide training on topics such as sustainable investing, ESG analysis and corporate sustainability reporting.

What about the here and now?

With ever-growing demand and shortage of talent, as a sector specialist we need to take a different approach to recruiting in sustainable finance. Mentoring, networking and enabling young professionals to learn from experienced leaders in the field is a must, but more importantly organisations need to look for candidates with transferable skills and experience to solve the problem.

It’s possible that candidates with a background in sustainability or corporate social responsibility may be able to bring valuable insights and a transferable skill set to sustainable finance roles. We should also be looking at candidates with experience in finance or investment management, as these candidates may be able to quickly learn the nuances of ESG analysis and apply their existing skills to this field. The same goes for data analysts who have a passion for sustainability and ESG and are looking to transition into the sector, they offer the chance to hire a candidate with a strong core background in data Analytics who is keen and driven to develop their sustainability and ESG knowledge.

By considering candidates with transferable skills and experience, organisations have a real opportunity to build the expertise they need to succeed in the ever evolving landscape of sustainable finance.

This not only helps to address the talent shortage, but also provides a pathway for career progression and development for existing employees. The shortage of talent in sustainable finance is a significant challenge for the industry, but one that can be addressed and overcome.

In a competitive market, with a limited talent pool, you might need help. Allen & York’s market knowledge and understanding - combined with our network built over 30 years in Environmental & Sustainability hiring - sets us apart from others in the Green Executive Search and Recruitment space. If you’re looking to hire in ESG or Sustainability, and need some help and advice, don’t hesitate to email Spencer at or visit our website at: