During the second quarter earnings call, Elon Musk highlighted that the potential of Tesla Energy exceeds that of the company’s automotive business simply because the utility sector is much larger than the car industry. Fortunately for Tesla, it appears that the upcoming ramp of its energy business is coming just at the right time, as a recent study has determined that members of Gen Z are far more interested in careers relating to renewable energy.
Morning Consult, a US-based data intelligence firm, recently conducteda climate change study on members of Generation Z aged between 13 and 23. The study was conducted on August 21-23 and it involved about 1,000 participants, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points. In a post about its survey, the data intelligence firm noted that overall, the study revealed that Gen Z accepts climate change as a fact, and a significant number of them are willing to do something about it.
As could be seen in the graphic below, 26% of the respondents in the study believe that humans have the capability to stop climate change. A larger number, 49%, believe that while climate change could not really be stopped, it could be slowed down. Encouragingly, only 2% of the study’s respondents stated that they do not believe climate change is happening, and only 8% stated that climate change is beyond humans’ control.
What is particularly notable in the study’s results was the fact that 73% of the survey’s respondents stated that they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the impact of climate change on the environment. The data intelligence firm noted that these values would likely have an effect on policies in the near future. “While many of the poll’s respondents are not yet able to vote, as the generation that has given the world activists such as Greta Thunberg and Xiye Bastida comes of age, its values will be of increasing relevance to policymakers,” the firm noted.
Amidst the data gathered by the intelligence firm, one particular point stood out. Gen Z-ers, most of whom have lived through a time when the effects of climate change have been more prominent, are focused on careers relating to sustainability. When asked about their career prospects, the vast majority of the study’s respondents stated that they are interested in sectors that contribute to the fight against climate change, like solar and wind. Sectors whose emissions harm the environment such as coal, on the other hand, hold very little appeal.
Based on the results of Morning Consult’s study, 50% of the respondents noted that they were interested in pursuing a career in the solar industry. Careers in wind and hydropower are a close second and third, with 43% and 41%, respectively. Interestingly enough, the coal industry, a key driver of the industrial age, only holds appeal to 15% of the study’s respondents, making it the least popular career option for Gen Z members. Alternatives to renewables like solar and wind, such as nuclear power, also seem to hold little appeal for the survey’s respondents.
“Fifteen percent of Gen Z-ers, meanwhile, expressed interest in a career in coal, with 65% saying they were not interested. The natural gas sector — which proponents have long touted as facilitating the economy’s transition to more renewable energy — was also unpopular, with 29% interested and 52% not interested. This is consistent with the industry’s own polling in 2017, which has prompted concern from energy executives about how to recruit new talent in the coming decades. And while nuclear energy has similarly been championed as playing a crucial role in the transition, the sector proved statistically as unpopular as natural gas,” the intelligence firm noted.
With this shift in mind, companies like Tesla are perfectly positioned as the preferred places of work for the next generation. As Gen Z steps away from fossil fuel-based jobs, the opportunities for businesses such as Tesla Energy become larger. Companies that actively address the effects of climate change, after all, are far better alternatives to workplaces whose practices actively destroy the planet. Perhaps this is already starting in the automotive sector, as companies like Tesla are becoming increasingly popular among engineering graduates. Beyond the appeal of working for a rockstar CEO like Elon Musk, Tesla’s disruptive approach and its open, ambitious mission could very well be considered attractive by prospective employees.