A new survey by global professional services company GHD reveals that nearly 80 per cent of its young workforce, largely comprised of graduate engineers, designers and scientists, is concerned about climate change, yet only half feel empowered to take action. Seventy-five per cent of respondents believe that more can be done to consult, engage, collaborate, and work with young people on the steps needed to address the climate change crisis.
“Despite being from different corners of the globe, most of the young professionals surveyed felt burdened by climate change and that they’re being left out of opportunities to enact change,” said Jasmine Ghorashi, GHD Future Energy Lead. “Young people are also frustrated by the slow progress of governments and the private sector and can feel powerless at times to play a meaningful role in addressing climate change. What they need to realize that they are not alone; this is not their problem to solve. It needs to be in collaboration with other diverse voices and people of all ages, backgrounds and experiences.”
Highlights from the survey include:
● 69 per cent believe that more can be done to consult and engage with Indigenous Peoples and First Nations.
● 84 per cent disagree that governments, investors, business, and the community are collaborating effectively to tackle climate change together.
● 62 per cent expect communities to be not resilient at all or only somewhat resilient to climate change-related shocks and threats over the next 10 years.
● 53 per cent believe their governments are not doing enough to set and achieve Net Zero emissions targets.
● 45 per cent believe the speed of the global energy transition to Net Zero emissions is too slow to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
“It’s no longer a matter of ‘if’ we can solve climate change, it’s whether we will. As companies move towards the delivery phase of their net zero goals, their choices, action or inaction will be telling. Even after these goals have been achieved, the effort shouldn’t and won’t stop there,” said Waterloo-based Kiersten Bell, GHD Future Energy engineering graduate.
GHD’s Young Professionals Survey polled 270 GHD employees across Europe, North America, South America and AsiaPacific who work in a wide range of business areas, including Building Engineering, Civil Engineering, Environment, Future Energy, Natural Resources, Transport, Urban Planning & Land Development and Water. The survey asked about their views on climate change related to issues ranging from energy transition and net zero ambitions; to diversity, inclusion and knowledge sharing; collaboration and finance; and influence and concern.
More information on the process, findings and commentary can be found in our article entitled From climate anxiety to agency – a young professional’s perspective.
GHD was named one of Canada’s Top Employer for Young People in 2022 and was recently recognized as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2023. GHD is also one of Waterloo Area’s Top Employers, awarded in 2019, 2020 and 2022.