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STUDY REVEALS A RISE IN ‘CONSCIOUS’ CAREER CHOICES, AS EMPLOYER SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES HEAVILY INFLUENCE GEN Z

As Earth Day (22nd April) approaches, the conversation around the importance of personal and business sustainable practices is ever more topical. How dedicated are Brits to living a sustainable lifestyle and to what degree does this affect the average Brit’s everyday decisions?

  • New report from FutureLearn.com reveals almost 1 in 5 (18%) Brits have actively sought out a job that prioritises helping the environment and growing their sustainable efforts, as “conscious” careers become increasingly important
  • Nearly 4 in 5 (78%) Brits consider sustainability personally important to them
  • 21% of Gen Zs have left a job due to inadequate sustainable efforts within the workplace
  • Partnership with FutureLearn and international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, aims to improve education and understanding around sustainability 

New data from global online learning platform, FutureLearn.com uncovers what Brits consider most important when it comes to sustainability, including how it impacts their career choices and learning and development decisions – from conscious job changes based on employers’ sustainability practices, to preferred ways of obtaining news and information about the environment, and sustainable approaches to adopt. 

The recently launched Future of Learning Report 2022 reveals nearly 4 in 5 (78%) Brits consider sustainability important to them, with Millennials coming out on top (82%). At 13%, ‘Online Course’ is the third most popular way for people to get information on sustainability, behind Social Media (26%) and news (41%), with younger generations the most likely to use social media for this information (31%).

However, when considering how individuals educate themselves on sustainability, the role of traditional learning can not be ignored. The data found that ‘the environment’ was one of the top 5 subjects that nearly a quarter (24%) of Brits feel is missing from the national curriculum, which comes as no surprise when we consider 24% of the population think a greater focus on the environment in education will have the most impact on tackling the environmental crisis in the next 10 years.   

When it comes to how Brits are bringing sustainability into more of their everyday lives, the report found that one of the main areas was in their career paths, with nearly 1 in 5 (18%) actively seeking out jobs at companies that prioritised helping the environment and growing their sustainable efforts. What’s more, 10% of Brits have left a job specifically because the company didn’t take its carbon footprint seriously, this having the largest impact on Gen Z (21%)

This uptake in job termination as a result of businesses’ sustainability practices differentiates greatly between generations. The graph below shows how this trend is far more prominent in the younger age groups and slowly decreases as we move to the older age categories. 

Employers across the UK, however, are now sitting up and responding to these shifts in attitude, as the top 3 initiatives they are implementing to make workplaces more sustainable are work from home flexibility (42%), reducing the company carbon footprint (41%) and educating employees about sustainability (35%).

For Earth Day 2022, FutureLearn and international advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, are calling on learners across the world to gain new skills and knowledge to improve their understanding of sustainability, while earning points that can be redeemed in exchange for various rewards within the Global Citizen app. 

Users are also encouraged to complete ‘positive actions’ such as taking part in a quiz, signing a petition or litter-picking, as well as completing FutureLearn’s course ‘Climate Change: The Science’, created in partnership with the University of Exeter and designed to teach learners about the science of climate change, the risks it poses and how human activity is changing our world.

Ian McIlwain, VP of Partnerships at FutureLearn, said:

“The Future of Learning report findings around sustainability shed a crucial light on just how individuals are taking the future of our planet into their own hands, into their education and into their careers. It’s also incredibly encouraging to see that employers are also listening to their workforce who want them to take on more responsibility. While there is so much more to be done in order to seriously tackle climate change on a global scale, we at FutureLearn are proud to play our part in empowering both learners and businesses to gain the knowledge, skills and tools in order to do so. We’re also proud to partner with forward-thinking organisations such as Global Citizen and The University of Exeter, and indeed many other world-class educational partners, to reach this shared goal.”

Talia Fried, Climate & Sustainability Director at Global Citizen, said:

“The climate change crisis is at the forefront of the public agenda and remains an issue everyone is affected by. If we take action through civic engagement by calling on leaders to step up their efforts to protect the planet, we can dramatically change the path we are currently on for global warming. On local and federal levels, we must push policymakers and corporations to halt climate change beyond 1.5°C of warming, allocate climate financing properly to help developing countries, and save nature so nature can save us. Individuals play a vital role in holding our world leaders accountable and controlling which issues are prioritised. Global Citizen is excited to support FutureLearn in leading the charge to educate and advocate for increased climate action to fulfil these goals.”

Notes to Editor

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 2000 Nat Rep UK respondents between 24.12.21- 04.01.22 and 500 Employers in the UK between 24.12.21 – 30.12.21. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

* Data was collected from iPos

https://www.ipsos.com/en-uk/public-recognise-link-between-climate-change-and-health-and-generally-do-not-have-strong-views-role

** Data was collected from BBC 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-59067471

The Future of Learning 2022 Report is available to download here: /info/thefutureoflearning 

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About FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a global learning platform with a mission to transform access to education by offering top online courses from the world’s leading universities and brands. From microcredentials and degrees to ExpertTracks and short courses, FutureLearn offers accredited and unaccredited world-class education that is 100% online, on-demand, and social. Founded in 2012 by The Open University, FutureLearn has built a global network of over 18 million learners, hosted over 5,000 online courses, and partnered with more than 250 top universities, leading global brands, and government departments – such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Glasgow, Deakin University, Samsung and Health Education England. The wide-ranging courses available allow learners to expand their interests, unlock highly skilled new career paths, and help change the world.

About Global Citizen

Global Citizen is the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty NOW. We post, tweet, message, vote, sign, and call to inspire those who can make things happen — government leaders, businesses, philanthropists, artists, and citizens — together improving lives. By downloading our app, Global Citizens learn about the systemic causes of extreme poverty, take action on those issues, and earn rewards, which can be redeemed for tickets to concerts, events, and experiences all over the world. For more information, visit www.globalcitizen.org and follow @GlblCtzn. 

About The University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university that combines world-class research with high levels of student satisfaction. Exeter has over 27,000 students and is 15th in The Guardian University Guide 2022, and in the top 150 globally in both the QS World Rankings 2022 and the THE World University Rankings 2022. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the University ranked 16th nationally, with 98% of its research rated as being of international quality, while in 2017, Exeter was awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment.

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