A recent survey shows that climate change weighs heavily on workers under the age of 40, with 40% indicating they have already changed or plan to change jobs due to employers’ environmental impacts or policies.
“They’re looking for employers who can help empower them to make a difference,” said Michele Parmelee, Global Deputy CEO at management consulting giant Deloitte, which recently released the results of its annual Gen Z and millennial survey. “Organizations that actively listen and help address their needs and concerns will improve business resiliency and implement actionable change in our world.”
- Be among the first to read The Energy Mix Weekender
- A brand new weekly digest containing exclusive and essential climate stories from around the world.
- The Weekender:The climate news you need.
Importantly for employers, the findings show that climate concerns are likely to impact recruitment and retention efforts.
The survey collected responses from nearly 23,000 people belonging to Gen Z (born 1995-2004) and millennials (born 1983–1994) across 44 countries. It covered various topics, including financial concerns, work/life balance, mental health, and climate action, aiming to reflect the impact of the past three years on these generations. The results indicated that while some positive changes have occurred, both groups remain deeply concerned about their futures, Deloitte says.
Moreover, the survey affirmed that climate change is among the most critical issues for both generations. While the cost of living topped the list of concerns for both, climate change ranked second for millennials and third for zoomers, who demonstrated slightly greater concern about unemployment.
Notably, the findings suggest interconnections between these three issues. While half of the respondents reported living paycheque to paycheque, they also said financial constraints make it tough to prioritize sustainability. They also expressed concern that a potential economic recession has caused employers to “backtrack on climate action”.
“More than half of respondents think it will become harder or impossible to pay more for sustainable products and services if the economic situation stays the same or worsens,” the report says.
The two generations also want employers to do more about the climate emergency. Many say employers have made sustainability strategies a lower priority in recent years because of external factors like the pandemic and Russia war in Ukraine.
That finding was at odds with results in Deloitte’s 2023 sustainability report, where 75% of business leaders said their organizations had increased their sustainability investments over the past year.
The new analysis attributes this discrepancy to a lack of employee awareness: “The disconnect may suggest the need for organizations to better communicate their climate strategies with their employees and help them understand how they can get involved.”
However, it does not account for the possibility that business leaders may be over-optimistic about their climate performance, with their plans and public statements diverging from actual outcomes.
For instance, the sustainability report includes this statement from lululemon Chief Brand Officer Nikki Neuburger: “Focusing on the planet and contributing to a more restorative future not only makes us more resilient and flexible, but it’s also the right and only thing to do.”
But in 2022, the year documented in the report, lululemon faced criticism for escalating its emissions while still relying on coal as an energy source.
The generational survey also found that zoomers and millennials “put sustainability at the bottom of the list” of areas where they feel they can drive positive change within their organizations. That result “signals that there is a need to further empower employees in this area,” Deloitte says.
Leave a Reply