Our corporate sustainability commitment ensures that we manage our planet’s precious natural resources in a responsible manner. That commitment also helps attract new talent as millennials seek out jobs that help them make a difference.
The job market in the United States is facing a sea change, with an estimated 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day. That’s nearly 4 million people stepping out of the workforce every year, creating personnel gaps in a wide range of industries.
Our company is feeling the effects of this so-called silver tsunami. Of our nearly 10,000 employees, almost 47 percent are at, or approaching, retirement age, according to our 2017 Sustainability Report. To sustain our current productivity levels and to encourage future growth, we must not only recruit the next generation of workers but also ensure the transfer of valuable knowledge from one generation to the next.
Our strong sustainability commitment gives us an edge as we look to rebuild our ranks from among the many millennials entering or already actively engaged in the workforce.
“The sustainability work Domtar does is, without question, the main reason young employees are interested in talking to us about career opportunities,” said Kimberly Riley, Domtar’s college recruitment coordinator. “What we find is that a lot of millennials watched their family members lose jobs and struggle with economic uncertainty. It’s put a different mentality inside them. Millennials are looking for companies that are stable and environmentally and socially responsible. This is where Domtar has the competitive advantage.”
The Millennial Boom
Millennials, defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as those born roughly between 1982 and 1998, became the largest generation in the American workforce in 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
Sustainability is a major motivator for this large and influential group when it comes to seeking employment. According to a study by Cone Communications, 76 percent of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work (compared to a U.S. average of 58 percent). Additionally, 75 percent of millennials say they would take a pay cut to work for a company with a strong commitment to the environment (compared to a U.S. average of 55 percent). But working for an environmentally aware company is not enough; 89 percent of millennials said they want to be active participants in helping their company improve sustainability practices (compared to a U.S. average of 77 percent).
Working Smart for the Long Term
That’s where our focus on caring for people and communities, our dedication to efficient manufacturing and our commitment to responsible sourcing and logistics pay off. Our sustainability commitment is integrated into every corner of our business. Our 2017 Sustainability Report, “Working Smart for the Long Term,” highlights many recent accomplishments, including:
4,000+ hours contributed by employees at company-sponsored community events in 2016
33 percent reduction in the amount of waste pulp and paper mills sent to landfills since 2013
75 percent renewable energy used in our mills in 2016
13 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions at mills since 2010
“Most of the college students we talk to home in on the sustainability of our company,” said Erin Boswell, a talent acquisition partner for Domtar. “But we are not resting on our laurels. The market is very competitive, so we’re working to build stronger relationships with universities and students.”
Sustainability Commitment Resonates with Job Seekers
We participate in college job fairs while also partnering with universities to develop industry-specific curriculum. We also offer scholarships, and we are committed to hiring interns and providing them with hands-on industry experience. Plus, we create personalized messaging aimed at the millennial audience. Along with a corporate video produced to accompany the 2017 Sustainability Report, we created a video starring our summer college interns, who spoke about what they liked about our sustainability commitment.
“Our younger hires have a tremendous advantage,” said Riley. “They are coming in at a time when they can still learn from the vast knowledge of baby boomer employees. Then they can take that experience, put their stamp on it and move up faster within the company. It’s a great time to be a millennial at work.”