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Climate Change Concerns and AI Development Shape the Lives of Young Poles

ECOLOGYClimate Change Concerns and AI Development Shape the Lives of Young Poles

Concerns related to climate change significantly influence the lifestyle and work habits of young people. Half of Poles from Generation Z and one-third of Millennials pressure their employers to take pro-environmental actions, according to the “2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey” report by Deloitte. Another key factor affecting the professional lives of young people is the development of artificial intelligence. At the same time, one-third of Polish Gen Z and one-fourth of Millennials believe their employer adequately trains employees in this technology.

Environmental and social challenges are major concerns for those born after 1983. Over half of Polish Gen Z and 45% of Millennials admit to feeling anxious about climate change in the past month. Increasingly, they try to overcome these fears by making lifestyle changes. 65% of Polish Gen Z and 63% of Millennials claim they actively try to minimize their environmental impact. This is slightly lower than the global average of 73% among Gen Z and 77% among Millennials.

Environmental concern is becoming apparent in the consumer behaviors of young Poles, at least declaratively. More than one-third of those born after 1983 say they approach fashion thoughtfully and avoid fast fashion, and 29% of Gen Z and 24% of Millennials limit their air travel. As many as 48% of Poles from Gen Z and 44% from Generation Y declare they are willing to pay more for more eco-friendly products or services. The key question is whether brands communicate their environmental solutions to consumers coherently and honestly.

It is worth noting that consumer expectations are not the only ones growing; employee expectations are rising too. The pro-environmental approach is reflected in the career decisions of Generation Z and Y. 14% of surveyed Poles changed employers or re-skilled to align their work with their values and beliefs about actively minimizing environmental impact. Half of Gen Z and one-third of Millennials also declare they pressure their employers to take pro-environmental actions.

We observe a clear trend in the consumer behavior of young Poles, who increasingly prioritize environmental concern over other factors. Over 70% of respondents expect companies to actively support sustainable consumer choices. Nearly a quarter of young people in our country analyze the environmental impact of companies before deciding to buy their products. A similarly large group of those born after 1983 plan to start paying attention to this criterion in the future. This shows that sustainable business practices are now a prerequisite for those wanting to remain competitive and capture consumers’ attention – says Marta Karwacka, Senior Manager in the Sustainability Team at Deloitte.

Social Dimension of Sustainable Development

It is important to note that environmental issues are increasingly linked to social ones. Nearly one-third of young Poles believe that companies have a positive impact on the overall population. Globally, half of the respondents gave this answer. In Poland, half of Generation Y and 58% of Generation Z think that businesses should at least moderately address social inequality challenges. This is slightly lower than the global 63%. Therefore, we can say that we do not deviate from the global norm.

Over 40% of Polish respondents believe that companies are responsible for ensuring pay equality and transparency. In our country, 32% of Gen Z and 23% of Millennials believe that they should support educational programs, scholarships, and mentoring, with half and 42% of each group, respectively, believing that business has an impact on ensuring access to education. 57% of Gen Z and 52% of Millennials think that companies have a significant impact on environmental protection. Globally, the figures are more favorable at 65% and 68%, respectively. More than half of Polish and 65% of global respondents also see that company actions translate into the ethical use of technology.

Generative AI – Opportunities and Challenges

One-third of Generation Z and 23% of Millennials in Poland believe their employer adequately trains them in AI. Simultaneously, 12% and 10% of both groups, respectively, have already undergone AI training, and 28% and 26% plan to participate in such training this year. About 30% of respondents think that this technology will improve the quality of their work within twelve months.

Young women decide to train in generative AI less frequently than their peers. Interestingly, 32% of Polish Gen Z women and 39% of Generation Y women say they do not plan to train in this area at all. This answer was given by 22% and 32% of men, respectively. Among Polish Gen Z, 40% of women feel comfortable working with generative artificial intelligence. Among female respondents born between 1983 and 1994, this figure is 29%.

The past year has seen a huge leap in the development of generative AI. According to our study, one-third of young Poles feel anxiety about AI and its potential impact on their careers. In this situation, some decide to build their competencies in this area – over a quarter of respondents plan to participate in training in this field. It is worth noting that young people already working with generative artificial intelligence also see the opportunities it offers, such as freeing up time for creative work or the potential to improve work-life balance – says Zbigniew Łobocki, Senior Manager in the Human Capital Team at Deloitte.

Currently, only one in ten Poles from Generation Z and Y uses generative AI for most of their work time. In this group, 64% of Gen Z and 44% of Millennials believe that using this technology will give them more free time and work-life balance. An almost identical percentage (63% and 44%) see AI as an opportunity to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of work. However, many young people fear that automation based on new technology could lead to job losses or make it harder to enter the job market. Poles born after 1994 also believe that introducing new technologies in the workplace will force them to re-skill and affect their career decisions. This opinion is shared by just over 40% of Millennials.

About the Study

The survey was conducted between November 24, 2023, and March 11, 2024, among 14,468 Generation Z and 8,373 Millennials (a total of 22,841 respondents) from 44 countries in North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe (including Poland), the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. The survey was conducted via an online, self-completed questionnaire. Polish respondents made up 3.5% of the total sample (301 Gen Z and 200 Millennials). In the study, Generation Z respondents were born between January 1995 and December 2005, while Millennials were born between January 1983 and December 1994.

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