More Americans may be going green at home these days, but when it comes to the workplace, environmental concerns fall near the bottom of a list of what they look for in a new position, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted by Jobfox, a McLean, Va.-based online job service, found that 5 percent of respondents prefer a company that is "ecologically-friendly" -- making it 18th on a list of the top 20 characteristics job seekers look for when considering a career change.
"I think what it's saying is people will take environmentalism if it's a free good," said Rob McGovern, founder and CEO of Jobfox. "Will people pay more for it or make a career sacrifice for it? We're not seeing that."
According to the survey, the top two priorities for job seekers are advancement opportunities (55 percent) and more leadership responsibility (41 percent). Rounding out the top five are work/life balance, leadership that is respected or admired, and a sense of accomplishment.
"I think that people just realize that a company is about working," McGovern said. "There are some costs that go along with that. They're putting their paycheck in front of their personal priorities."
McGovern added that workers are more likely to take environmental considerations into account in their private lives than in career decisions.
Moreover, Americans as a whole are not thinking about the environment in the same way as people in other nations, McGovern said. For example, in some European hotels, visitors must press a button to turn on the hallway lights when they leave their rooms. "The hallway lights in my office building are on 24 hours a day," McGovern said, in contrast.
The study was based on the responses of a random sampling of the profiles of over 6,000 Jobfox users. Respondents could choose up to five criteria that are most important when looking for a new job.
In contrast to the Jobfox study, a similar survey of college students and recent graduates conducted by MonsterTRAK found that 80 percent are interested in finding a job that impacts the environment in a positive way. Over 90 percent would prefer to work for a company that is environmentally friendly.
"This is one we're going to keep watching," McGovern said. "Right now, it just doesn't seem to be in front of mind for today's workers."