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Corporations in India Should Support Quality Jobs and Skills on Par With Profits, Reveals IBM Survey

  • 79 per cent of respondents in India believe that companies should promote quality jobs and skills, including investing in the future of the workforce
  • At least 71 per cent of respondents in every country surveyed say that corporations should operate programs that benefit employees, environment and the community; 77% of respondents in India agree
  • Survey respondents reshuffled their suggested social-good priorities for corporations when asked to envision themselves as prospective clients

Companies that demonstrate their concern for society with specific “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) initiatives are perceived more favourably by the public and prospective clients, and may even influence purchase decisions suggests a report by IBM (NYSE: IBM) released today. The study, conducted by IBM in association with Morning Consult, has considered two aspects for the analysis – how purpose drives brand favourability and how it drives business.

The report, “Companies With Purpose: The Future of Business,” based on a survey of 14 nations, asked respondents to rank the relative perceived value of CSR initiatives ranging from environmental sustainability to diversity and inclusion. The consensus by Indian respondents who envisioned themselves as prospective clients is that initiatives that prioritise skills and jobs were the most impressive, along with those that show responsibility to local communities.

While according to the survey the priority on skills and jobs, including workforce development, were the most admired type by people in most of the countries, including China, they diverged from top responses in the UK, US, Japan and Canada, which gave greater weight to delivering value to customers.

“It is well established that companies driven by social purpose can be quite profitable, but until now, it was unclear what kind of social good is most respected. What this survey showed is that there are certain types of CSR programs that are universally admired, but there are local nuances. Companies need to understand those local preferences to make the biggest impact. IBM’s CSR efforts in India are consistent with the study’s findings, which show that quality skills development and jobs are particularly valued. To that end, we are particularly proud of the education and workforce development initiatives we run in association with partners across the eco-system, such as the effort to provide STEM skills and training to women nationally throughout India,” summarized Manoj Balachandran, Leader, Corporate Social Responsibility, IBM India Pvt.

The study considered eight parameters – promoting quality jobs and skills, including investing in the future of the workforce; delivering value to customers; supporting the communities in which they work; being environmentally conscious; data responsibility, including promoting data privacy and security; investing in employees; expanding economic opportunity in underserved communities and promoting diversity and inclusion.