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How to create a Personal Development Plan: A guide for finance and ESG professionals

personal development plan

As we step into the new year, it is an ideal time to reflect on your professional journey and what you desire to achieve over the next 12 months and beyond. One way to do this is to create a Personal Development Plan.

In this article, we share why it’s important to design a clear plan or “roadmap” to help you stay in the driving seat of your career and continue to make progress for your future.

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A Personal Development Plan is essentially a plan of action for your career, guiding you to leverage your core strengths and overcome your obstacles. It can be used to help you take your next career step or to further develop within your current role, whether you work in finance or ESG.

A clear written plan is a great motivator. It gives you a constant visual reminder of your strengths, what you need to work on and, importantly, clear direction of how you intend to carry out your plan. It will give you the focus you need to develop yourself and advance your career.

Why are Personal Development Plans important?

Put simply, a personal development plan helps you to stand out from the crowd because clarity is golden.

Organisations will often receive hundreds of applications for a single role and only a handful of truly excellent candidates will make it to the final stages and potentially be appointed. At this point in the recruitment process, employers will take a high level of technical skills as a given. While technical skills are a significant part of finance, professionals are increasingly required to have a more complex and balanced skillset.

Based on Moir Group’s vast experience in the finance and recruitment sectors, we know there are unwritten rules when it comes to career promotion that do not always relate to your technical ability, industry experience, or business knowledge. Instead, they are often to do with your “soft skills” and personal attributes, which give decision-makers an intuitive sense of whether you will succeed at the senior level or not.

Those with an analytical nature may need to take some time to identify and strengthen these more intangible skills. These include influencing, communicating effectively, managing conflict, giving feedback, and leading others.

How do I create a Personal Development Plan?

Follow the below steps to create your own individualised Personal Development Plan:

  1. Self-reflection: Begin by looking at your own strengths and weaknesses. Are there behaviours or mindsets that you need to unlearn? Identify key areas (particularly soft skills) that require development.
  2. Ask for insights from others: Ask for feedback from people that you trust. Speak to people who know you, both personally and professionally. Ask them what makes you successful? What do they like about your leadership style? How do they think you could improve? How do you make others feel?
  3. Invest in a detailed profile: There are many benefits to creating a profile of yourself to help nail down the specifics. You may consider obtaining a psychometric profile test to measure your capabilities and behavioural style. Search for a test suitable for you.
  4. Get help: Engage a coach or mentor to challenge your thinking and help you maintain momentum. An impartial third-party will help you to see yourself in the same way that others might see you.
  5. Be specific: Identify where you are now and where you want to get to and then perform a gap analysis. Once you know what success looks like, you can start making your way towards it.

How do I put my Personal Development Plan into action?

The most successful plan involves a mix of on-the-job experience, informal activities (such as mentoring and self-directed learning), together with formal training. Moir Group’s Director Stephen Moir believes that 70:20:10 is the ideal split. It’s important to consider your necessary learning and how it connects to your desired outcomes. “Can you identify individuals in your life who can provide support and actively seek their feedback? This is key to putting your plan into action, particularly in the competitive areas of finance and ESG,” Stephen said.

What is the outlook for ESG jobs in Australia?

The outlook for ESG and Sustainability jobs in Australia appears positive amidst global trends towards corporate responsibility and sustainability. As organisations increasingly prioritise ESG factors in their operations, there is a growing demand for professionals skilled in these areas. New leadership roles such as Chief Impact Officer and Chief ESG Ethicist are emerging, reflecting the evolving landscape. Additionally, the integration of ESG principles into standard business practices is becoming more prevalent, with compensation tied to ESG performance for executives and employees alike. Despite ongoing challenges, such as uncertainties around extending ESG-linked compensation beyond the C-suite, the future looks promising for individuals passionate about driving positive environmental and social impact within organisations.

Remember: Be proactive and enjoy the learning

Changing behaviours and learning new skills can be challenging, but also an immensely rewarding experience. To succeed, you need to invest a proper amount of time, commitment and make the realisation of your Personal Development Plan a genuine priority.

If you would like further support, information, or resources on this topic, please contact us.

If you have any recruitment needs in your team on a permanent or a temporary basis we would be delighted to assist.

Moir Group is a specialist finance, accounting and ESG recruitment company. We cover temporary and permanent roles from Assistant Accountant to CFO level. We also recruit Sustainability / ESG Manager roles to Chief Sustainability Officer roles across all industry sectors.



Forbes, “A Sustainability Revolution Is Coming, Are Leaders Ready?” (March 2021)

KPMG Australia, “ESG, Corporate Purpose, Cyber, Top List of CEO Priorities, KPMG Outlook” (September 2021)

Seek, “Job Search: ESG” (2021)

Financial Times, “Jobs Bonanza in Stewardship and Sustainable Investing Teams” (March 2020)

KPMG Australia, “ESG, corporate purpose, cyber, top list of CEO priorities” (September 2021)

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Moir Group acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present and encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of all cultures, abilities, sex, and genders.