Companies can improve their chances of hiring and retaining talented staff if they recognize and support employees' home needs and pay more attention to environmental and community concerns, according to research by the British corporate think tank, The Work Foundation.

The group's study of more than 1,000 British workers found that about one in ten are "ethical enthusiasts" who hold such strong views on corporate social responsibility - which includes providing safe and healthy working conditions - that it is likely to influence their choice of employer.

Companies with good corporate citizenship, for example those offering flexible working arrangements and caring 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. One-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.

"Most employers only find out about their employees' concerns after they have resigned, and in most cases they assume that money is the issue," says Stephen Bevan, deputy director of research at The Work Foundation. "In fact, only around ten percent of employees leave because they are unhappy with their pay packet."