Gordon Wilson, CEO, Advanced:
“As world leaders discuss empowering youth to take climate action this week, we cannot ignore the overwhelming message from the UK’s young talent pool that business is not doing enough fast enough.
“Our recent business Trends Survey, shows over half (56%) of 18-24 year olds are accusing their employer of ‘greenwashing’, meaning that they overstate and gloss over their sustainable business efforts for business gain. We cannot afford to ignore the voice of this generation, which has much greater personal awareness of their values and the impact they want to have on the world than previous generations.
“These are the voices of future leaders, and they’re joining the business world with an inherent distrust.
“Yes, it can be frightening. They are asking questions that we don’t yet have the answers to, but we need them to work with us to help us provide those answers. We need to adapt and evolve, listen and show proper respect. We can invite young employees to help us come up with new solutions.
“We will never solve the UK’s skills crisis if we don’t. Young people want to align themselves with companies that are doing the right thing for the planet and society, and are working towards positive change. They want more than just a job. They care about how they can bring their authentic selves and values into the workplace and whether they will be respected and responded to.
“Young people bring strength of challenge and a different way thinking. This forces everyone to revisit old ideas and look at things in a new way that drives progress and improvements. That they are highly adept with technology is beyond a given these days too, which is instrumental in understanding and limiting our impact on the environment.
“Initiatives such as reverse mentoring are a positive way to foster greater understanding between the generations and help everyone to understand, respect and appreciate what each can bring.
“We must listen and act or fail. We need to be respectful and appreciative and be prepared to learn and be educated. We have to be genuine in what we are offering and be accountable for our actions. If we’re not authentic we’ll be caught out and called out.”