ESG upskilling: Groups demanding more of ESG professionals

As hiring slows, is there a need for ESG professionals at fund firms to have investment expertise?


Michael Nelson

Since 2021, fund managers have embarked on a significant recruitment drive for ESG professionals in a hurry to build out their ESG teams on the back of increased demand from investors.

However, things are beginning to change. Recruiters are seeing the scramble for ESG talent beginning to slow, citing a worsening economic landscape and anti-ESG lobbies in the US as reasons for the change in direction.

See also: ‘The best ESG managers are small and specialist’

“In recent months, there has been mixed media on ESG, with more claims against greenwashing and ESG fund performance, which may have created a pause for internal recruitment,” said Sophia Deen, associate director for investments, front office and ESG hires at Bruin Financial, back in July.

Given this, the focus is turning to equipping current ESG research and other sustainability specialties with more investment expertise, according to Tom Strelczak, director and founder of recruitment firm TWS.

According to Strelczak, most ESG professionals at asset management firms are primarily concerned with thematic research and stewardship. However, he has seen an increasing need for these professionals to take on more financially material aspects of firms’ strategies, saying it is often not enough for analysts to simply conduct thematic level research on a company, they must also understand the financial material impact of their ESG research.

Read the full analysis in ESG Clarity’s October 2023 digital magazine.

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