Workers Want Ethical, Socially Responsible Companies, Survey Finds

By Staff Report

Oct. 30, 2009

Acting ethically and in socially and environmentally responsible manners is key to gaining top talent, according to a new Kelly Services Inc. study.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index surveyed about 100,000 people in 34 countries throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Nearly 90 percent of respondents in the study said they are more likely to work for an organization perceived as ethically and socially responsible, according to Troy, Michigan-based Kelly.

The survey found that employees across all generations and regions gravitate to organizations with well-developed social, ethical and environmental policies.

Among the study’s other findings:

• 80 percent of respondents said they would be likely to work for an organization considered environmentally responsible.
• 53 percent of baby boomers said they would be prepared to forgo higher pay or a promotion to work for an organization with a good reputation.
• 48 percent of Gen Xers (ages 30 to 47) and 46 percent of Gen Yers (18 to 29 years) said they would forgo higher pay or a promotion to work for an organization with a good reputation.

Employees gain a sense of fulfillment when their employer is focused not only on the bottom line but also on practices that are good for the communities in which they operate, said George Corona, Kelly executive vice president and COO, in a release.

That translates to increased pressure for companies to meet higher standards of corporate and ethical behavior and to play an appropriate role on issues affecting the environment, he said.

More information on the survey results is available at


Filed by Sherri Begin Welch of Crain’s Detroit Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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