Views of the future from the future

CIHT’s Young Professionals Festival took place between 19 - 23 October 2020.  An online event included inspiring webinars, live workshops, masterclasses and research to gain insights from young professionals.  CIHT partnered with Atkins to conduct an online survey that received 138 responses from young professionals.  Below are the results and analysis plus individual viewpoints from future leaders.

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Introduction from Andrew Hugill, CIHT Director of Policy and Technical Affairs

Andrew outlines the aim of the research, the partnership with Atkins and how the thought provoking results will help drive future planning and action for CIHT and the sector as a whole.

   

Atkins - CIHT Young Professionals Festival of Learning Research Partner

At Atkins we believe that in a connected and ever-changing world, we are shaping the future of transport, making journeys easier, safer and more reliable, supporting a healthier, happier and more productive society. Through combining traditional engineering, new technologies and innovative thinking we bring ideas to life, meeting increased demands on infrastructure to deliver not only more, but better for less.

As partner of choice, our industry-leading expertise, strategic insight and capability spans the full transport ecosystem, reimagining infrastructure across rail, highways and local transport. Our collaborative approach puts our customers at the heart of everything we do, driving efficiencies, improving mobility and unlocking growth.

   

Executive Takeaway

As part of the Young Professional Festival of Learning, CIHT partnered with Atkins to ask the young professionals and future leaders of the sector their view of the future.

From the research it is clear that young professionals want a flexible, connected way of working with life not tied to cities. The impact of Covid may have had an impact on how lifestyles and space are now perceived.

The majority of Young professionals do not feel that the current infrastructure meets their needs and look towards technology and smaller localised sustainable projects rather than grand big budget national projects as an answer.

The environment is perceived to remain at risk with greater central co-ordination and action by their organisations required.

Loyalty is driven primarily through professional development and an investment in them.

Though the importance of Diversity & Inclusion was being recognised and communicated at an organisational level that actual gender and ethnic diversity lagged behind with little transparency of diversity at senior levels. Furthermore, workplaces were perceived as places where they could express themselves but were cautious if it was a contrary opinion.

   

What was the Young Professional Festival of Learning?

CIHT’s Young Professional Festival, was 31 online sessions across 5 Days, that included Inspiring Webinars, Live Workshops, Masterclasses and so much more.

The Festival explored the big ideas and challenges young professionals will face.

Register your interest for the 2021 Young Professionals Festival


   

The 6 skills needed to transform our sector

By: Lizi Stewart, Managing Director – Transportation, Atkins 

The digital transformation of our highways will require our industry to grow and embrace a whole new skill set. From data science to blockchain to artificial intelligence and beyond; these skills are rare, hard to recruit and even harder to retain in an industry that prides itself on tradition. These new skills are disruptive of themselves, but we see double disruption when these new skills are held by the next generation, with a whole new set of expectations and set of beliefs about the world.

Atkins has worked with CIHT to better understand the views and aspirations of Generation Z through a ‘Voice of the future’ survey. In the Voice of the future survey, the majority of respondents (63%) chose learning and development as their highest priority when selecting a potential employer. If we want to attract the best talent, we must invest in helping the next generation build a suite of skills that will help us to meet the future needs of our clients and disrupt our industry.

In my view, there are six essential skills – outside the obvious technology and engineering ones – that we need from the next generation to help us transform our industry.


 

  

The Results

   

93% of respondents said that post pandemic they would like to flex their work hours across home and the office.

Flexible Future

Young professionals want a flexible future of work, this is something that older professionals have wanted  and it is interesting this view is shared by the younger generation.  


   

Where to Live

The attraction of cities was lower than expected (understanding the reasons requires further research).  Transport was a major factor in deciding where to live.  One would expect that young professionals would like to live somewhere that has sustainable transport options (walking, cycling, public transport) to be available.  CIHT’s Better Planning, Better Transport, Better Places  offers recommendations for how to ensure planning is better integrated with sustainable transport.

  

Just over 20% of respondents said that they want to live in a city in the future

 

36% would like to live in the suburbs

 

37% in a rural location

60% of respondents said that transport would influence this decision!

How CIHT are helping shape a positive future

Better Planning, Better Transport, Better Places

Advice for creating a more sustainable approach into transport, planning and creating better places

For the last 20 years, governments have attempted to encourage a more sustainable approach to transport but have made limited progress.  The way we currently travel is damaging our health, harming our towns, and contributing to climate change. This advice provides some necessary steps to fixing the problem

  


 

Employment Aspirations

The message to companies is:  make sure you offer a fantastic training programme as this will help attract and retain future talent.  Learning and development was the most important company policy for prospective employees, when looking for employment.  Money was still highly important.  

   

Learning and Development ranked highest at 63%

Closely followed by salary at 60%

Hear directly from our Young Professionals

Erin Ruddy, Arup gives her view on the importance of being able to bring your whole self to work

  

How CIHT are helping shape a positive future

Professional Development Framework

CIHT’s Professional Development Framework is an on-line system that offers employers a structured approach to professional development for their employees working in Highways & Transportation. The Framework allows users to record knowledge and experience gained at work and benchmark their progress against professionally recognised standards. The Framework is the only Highways & Transportation competency-based training programme available. It has been designed and approved by CIHT and our partner organisations within the sector.

   


 

Diversity & Inclusion

Employers are clearly trying to do the right thing in terms of creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive work environment.  However, according to the young professionals surveyed this is not every employer:  the survey revealed disappointing results for how – although a small number – some employers are addressing issues of gender and ethnicity both in general and at senior levels.  Major steps forward have been made, but the results demonstrate further progress should be made.  CIHT would encourage organisations to use their resources available to support diversity and inclusion.

53% are satisfied with the ethnic diversity in their company.

23% were not satisfied

   

  

View of the organisation

  

60% thought their organisation regularly made available to them, information about how diverse their employees and leadership team are.

21% somewhat or strongly disagree

50% of respondents were satisfied with the gender diversity in their company.

28% were not satisfied*

*37% of women were not happy with the gender diversity within their company, compared to 20% of men

83% thought diversity and inclusion is one of their organisation’s stated values and priority areas.

8% disagreed

82% think their organisation publicly communicates information about its diversity goals.

6% disagreed

   

View of the culture

  

78% thought their employer provided an environment for the free and open expression of ideas, opinions, and beliefs.

6% somewhat or strongly disagreed

85% said that they are comfortable talking about background and cultural experiences with work colleagues.

8% disagree

69% that they could voice a contrary opinion without fear of negative consequences.

14% somewhat or strongly disagree

76 % thought that racial, ethnic, gender and sexuality-based jokes were not tolerated at their place of work

16% disagreed

   

View of management

   

75% thought their manager handled diversity matters appropriately and demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

5% somewhat or strongly disagree

   

71% thought that management demonstrated a commitment to meeting the needs of employees with disabilities.

5% somewhat or strongly disagreed

74% said their company vouches to take strict action against discrimination.

7% disagree

   

Hear directly from our Young Professionals

Onyeka Okeke, Momentum Transport Consultancy gives his view on the importance of diversity

   

How CIHT are helping shape a positive future

CIHT has taken the lead in showing how Diversity & Inclusion can and why it should be addressed in the highways & transportation sector. Information below details toolkits, case studies and initiatives to support this agenda.

   


 

56% of Young Professionals think that today's infrastructure does not meet the needs of younger people

Need for infrastructure to change

The survey results pose a challenge to how the highways and transportation sector creates a transport environment for the next generation:  more needs to be done, according to young professionals.  

   

  

Hear directly from our Young Professionals

Elena Sobeleva, Momentum Transport Consultancy gives her views on preserving positive infrastructure changes brought upon by the response to the pandemic.

How CIHT are helping shape a positive future

England must seize the opportunity to Plan for the Future

In its response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s ‘Planning for the Future’ White paper, CIHT in discussion with the Transport Planning Society (TPS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has made a series of key recommendations.

Sue Percy CBE, Chief Executive, CIHT said:

“This review of planning is a unique opportunity to address some of our fundamental concerns with the existing planning system and its ability to respond to the acute challenges including supporting sustainable growth as set out by the government in their White Paper.”

“Sustainable transport needs to be at the heart of the Planning White Paper, if we are to achieve net zero by 2050, deliver quality place and improve health and wellbeing.”

“We call on the government to adopt our recommendations on how to improve integration between planning and transport. The benefits of ensuring transport is considered at the earliest stage and throughout the planning process will ensure we can build and maintain the infrastructure people want and work towards a zero-net carbon future.”

   


 

Our Climate Future

The Royal Academy of Engineering Policy Centre highlighted that net zero emissions will not be met unless there is a gear change in the approach taken.  This view was shared by the young professionals saying there are major challenges ahead in terms of the need to address climate change.  CIHT’s Climate Change Pledge  is a major initiative to support measures to address this and will help the profession progress with positive actions.  

68% of Young Professionals thought that the UK was not doing enough to accelerate decarbonisation of the UK transport network

   

Half of respondents think their employer is doing enough to address climate change.

Almost a third thought that they weren’t

67% somewhat or strongly agreed that a new central government department with cross-departmental responsibility should be created to deliver net zero outcomes

11% disagreed

Only 14% of our young professionals are positive about the future state of the environment.

65% of respondents aspire to own an electric car within the next ten years

How CIHT are helping shape a positive future

CIHT Climate Change Pledge

We have a key leadership role to play in supporting our members to adapt and respond, as well as demonstrating our own policy commitment to support adaptive behaviour for achieving net zero emissions.


 

75% of respondents believed that technology would have a significant impact on better planning over the next 10 years

79% of respondents believed that technology would have a significant impact on better design over the next 10 years

Technology as a Solution

There was optimism for technology to offer solutions to both planning and design:

   

Hear directly from our Young Professionals

Jasmin Cole, Kier gives her view on technology in the future, policy for the future and the skills required.


 

Future Investment

The future is local.  Perhaps as a desire to create 15-minute cities, or the push to create low traffic neighbourhoods, our young professionals considered investing in walking and cycling as the most important future investment.  CIHT made the case for investing in local highways in their report Improving Local Highways .  Major infrastructure investment features as less critical, perhaps as a reflection of changing working patterns accelerated by Covid?  

   

Where young people think the most important areas are for future investment

1 - Active travel improvements to facilitate more cycling and walking
2 - Improving public transport on the highway network
3 - Digital Infrastructure
4 - Improvements to rail networks in the North and in Scotland
5 - Refocusing the local highways network

   

Where young people think the most important areas are for future investment

High speed rail links between London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds
Taking forward RIS2 (Highways England’s Road Investment Strategy)
Terminal Interchanges
High speed rail links in Scotland
Port Expansions
Building new airport runway capacities

   

  

Hear directly from our Young Professionals

Tobias Bryson, Momentum Transport Consultancy gives his view on  future investment supporting climate change goals and how technology can support planning decisions.


 

Watch the Presentation

See the presentation with the full breakdown of the statistics as it appeared in the panel discussion Future of the Sector at the Young Professional Festival of Learning 2020.


   

About CIHT

The natural home for all people working in highways & transportation infrastructure.

CIHT is a charity, learned society and membership body. CIHT represents and qualifies professionals who plan, design, build, manage and operate transport and infrastructure.

Discover why the leaders and rising stars of the sector are CIHT members at www.ciht.org.uk/reasons-to-become-a-member/

   

About Atkins

CIHT Research Partner for the Young Professional Festival of Learning

At Atkins we believe that in a connected and ever-changing world, we are shaping the future of transport, making journeys easier, safer and more reliable, supporting a healthier, happier and more productive society. Through combining traditional engineering, new technologies and innovative thinking we bring ideas to life, meeting increased demands on infrastructure to deliver not only more, but better for less.

As partner of choice, our industry-leading expertise, strategic insight and capability spans the full transport ecosystem, reimagining infrastructure across rail, highways and local transport. Our collaborative approach puts our customers at the heart of everything we do, driving efficiencies, improving mobility and unlocking growth.

  

Further information

If you have any questions about the research, want more information or learn how to partner with CIHT please contact technical@ciht.org.uk

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Get ahead with CIHT Membership

Join other savvy professionals just like you at CIHT.  We are  committed to fulfilling your professional development needs throughout your career

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