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Sustainability and company attractiveness: A study of American college students entering the job market

Adrien Presley (School of Business, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA)
Theresa Presley (Kelce College of Business, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas, USA)
Michael Blum (School of Business, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 23 May 2018

Issue publication date: 18 September 2018

1385

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine whether a company’s sustainability practices affect job seekers’ perceptions of the attractiveness of the company as a potential employer.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey completed by 259 university students assessed the respondents’ attitudes toward sustainability. Participants were then presented a series of scenarios describing the sustainable practices of hypothetical companies using the triple bottom line factors of sustainability (economic, environmental and social) and were asked how attractive they found the company to be and the likelihood that they would accept a job offer from the company.

Findings

The findings indicate that sustainability as a single concept and each sustainability factor individually influenced the attractiveness of a company to potential employees.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the study add to the body of job choice research, specifically as related to sustainability practices of companies. It furthers the body of work related to signaling theory and job attractiveness.

Practical implications

The results of this study indicate that sustainability performance is an important factor in determining the attractiveness of a company to potential applicants.

Social implications

The research highlights the importance of sustainability to potential job applicants. Companies should be aware that positive sustainability performance can make it more attractive to these applicants. The results reported from this research provides additional motivation for companies to pursue efforts in sustainability.

Originality/value

The research builds upon existing research in the fields of sustainability and job choice. While previous research has looked at many factors regarding applicants and job choice including, no other research was found which explicitly considered the triple bottom line factors of sustainability.

Keywords

Citation

Presley, A., Presley, T. and Blum, M. (2018), "Sustainability and company attractiveness: A study of American college students entering the job market", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 9 No. 4, pp. 470-489. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-03-2017-0032

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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