An increasing number of young job seekers and older workers are more likely to choose employers with a track record on recycling over the pay and benefits packages they offer, according to research by corporate think-tank The Work Foundation.

The study of over 1,000 workers found that around one in 10 are ‘ethical enthusiasts’ who hold such strong views on corporate social responsibility that it is likely to influence their choice of employer.

Companies with good corporate citizenship, for example those offering flexible working arrangements, and compassionate approaches to illness and family crises, also stand to gain, according to the study.

Ethical enthusiasts are most likely to be in the 18-24 age group, or 45 and over.

The study also found that employers without a good record on corporate ethics are more likely to lose staff in the next 12 months.

A third of all employees, and over half of ethical enthusiasts, are very likely to be job hunting in the next year because they see their employer’s contribution to the wider community as below par.

Stephen Bevan, deputy director of research at The Work Foundation, explained that the findings highlighted the growing importance of corporate ethics in employee loyalty.

“Most employers only find out about their employees’ concerns after they have resigned, and in most cases they assume that money is the issue,” he said.

“In fact only around 10 per cent of employees leave because they are unhappy with their pay packet.

“The demographics of our labour market and Britain’s population show that bright young graduates from certain universities and older people are going to be more in demand by employers.

These are precisely the groups that are most concerned with ethical issues.”