Tech industry struggling to align aspirations with sustainability planning

New research has found that a majority of engineers and executives in the global technology industry believe that they can have meaningful impact in combatting climate change in their engineering roles, but sustainable technologies to do so are lacking within the industry.

Tech industry struggling to align aspirations with sustainability planning

More than 70% of the respondents argued that the industry is falling behind on developing sustainable technologies.

This is according to TE Connectivity’s industrial technology index, which surveyed approximately 1,000 engineers and executives in the US, China, Germany, India and Japan, working in industries such as data, cloud computing, industrial machinery, energy solutions, aerospace and defence, among others.

According to the survey, 80% of engineers believe that they can help tackle the climate crisis through engineering jobs, with 77% of them actively seeking out roles that prioritise climate change.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters (74%) of engineers want organisations that they are working for to address climate change as part of their company culture.

The desire for climate action is notably higher among younger generations, with 53% of generation Z and millennial engineers classifying sustainability as ‘extremely important’, compared to 40% of generation X and older engineers.

Previous data from LinkedIn found that global green job postings increased by 15.2% last year, in contrast to a slight decrease in overall job postings. However, these roles can be difficult to break into without specific sustainability-related skills, with less than 15% of LinkedIn users having any relevant experience or skills for a career in the green economy.

A majority (86%) of survey respondents cited difficulties in ensuring sustainability in their operations and across the supply chains, with a similar number of respondents believing that they need better direction from their leaders on how to achieve the company’s sustainability goals.

TE Connectivity’s chief executive Terrence Curtin said: “We wanted to learn more about how these two megatrends [sustainability and AI] are affecting the innovation process and, in turn, how innovation is driving them forward.

“What we found was that the leaders who set a company’s goals and the engineers tasked with meeting these goals still have some work to do to align for success.”

As per the survey, more than 70% of the respondents, including engineers and executives, argued that the industry is falling behind on developing sustainable technologies.

Last year, an analysis from PwC found that global investment in climate tech decreased by 40% year-year, due to “a challenging macroeconomic environment, sinking valuations and geopolitical turmoil”.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, investments in climate tech have remained more attractive than investments in many other kinds of start-up, underscoring a corporate trend focused on transitioning to being sustainable businesses.

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