Sustainability expertise wanted

At the time when the future of work is still to be determined, expertise in sustainability has become one of the most sought-after skills in core investment roles.

According to CFA Institute’s chief of staff, research, advocacy and standards, Rebecca Fender, there was a clear supply and demand gap when it came to sustainability.

“We did a study looking at some profiles on LinkedIn – about a million job profiles in core investment roles – and we’ve found that less than 1% listed sustainability expertise,” Fender said, during CFA Societies’ 2021 Australian Investment Conference held on Wednesday.

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“But then when we looked at the job posting we found that nearly 20% of portfolio manager job postings are seeking sustainability skills.”

Fender noted that the mismatch between supply and demand side also meant that there would be a lot of interesting opportunities and work to do in the industry in that area.

According to Fender, organisations would be rather looking for specific experts in the environmental, social, governance (ESG) area instead of focusing on finding one ESG expert but with very deep knowledge.

“I don’t think that ESG expert role will ever go away because everybody has upskilled so much but I think there will be still lots of different approaches organisations use in terms of their teams,” she added.

This will also open up a number of new opportunities for people trying to get their foot in the door.

“Because it’s a new area there are many experts yet so a relatively new entrant to the industry can become an expert relatively quickly along others,” Fender said.

“I think especially in the area where we have lots of organisations thinking about new ways of measuring climate there will be a lot more to do.”

Asked about the future of work, Fender stressed there were a couple of things that organisations would need to think about, including how the structure of different jobs would play out in the investment industry and whether hybrid working would be a good thing.

The disruption of work would also force organisation and people to rethink the context of their careers (how the work would happen), the content of their work and the culture of organisations (how we do what we do).






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