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Few Singaporean youths aim to be entrepreneurs, most have no plans to work overseas: WEF survey

SINGAPORE — Most youths in Singapore plan to work here rather than venture abroad, and only a small proportion want to become entrepreneurs, according to a new survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Only 17 per cent of Singaporean youths expressed interest in becoming an entrepreneur while in Indonesia more than one in three have that goal, according to the WEF survey.

Only 17 per cent of Singaporean youths expressed interest in becoming an entrepreneur while in Indonesia more than one in three have that goal, according to the WEF survey.

SINGAPORE — Most youths in Singapore prefer to work here rather than venture abroad, and only a small proportion want to become entrepreneurs, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In terms of entrepreneurial ambition, Singapore came last of six regional countries in the survey with only 17 per cent of youths expressing this aspiration.

Nearly two-thirds of youths here, or 66 per cent, have no plans to work abroad, according to the WEF report, Asean Youth: Skills, Technology and the Future of Work published on Friday (Aug 16) which surveyed 56,000 people aged 15 to 35.

The countries surveyed were: Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The report’s finding that most young people want to work here gels with the conclusion in a recent report which singled out Singapore as the top destination among Asian jobseekers who have an opportunity to relocate — ahead of China, Europe and North America.

The WEF survey examined the attitudes to jobs and skills, and the impact of technology on the future of work.

The survey was conducted online. The WEF collaborated with Sea, a Singapore-based consumer Internet company.

Here are some of the key findings:

The desire to be an entrepreneur varies significantly across the countries

  • Indonesia ranked first with 36 per cent expressing an interest in becoming an entrepreneur — which the report said could be attributed to role models who had succeeded in setting up valuable start-ups

  • Thailand ranked a close second at 32 per cent

  • Vietnam was third at 26 per cent

  • Malaysia was fourth with 23 per cent

  • The Philippines was just ahead of Singapore with 19 per cent

Across all six Asean countries, 54 per cent are keen to work abroad in the next three years but Singaporeans prefer to stay put

  • 66 per cent of Singaporeans indicated that they would like to work in their own country

  • Indonesia was second, with 60 per cent

  • Vietnam coming in third at 55 per cent

  • Just over half of Malaysians feel this way, ranking them in fourth place, followed by Thailand, with youths in the Philippines most interested in working abroad

The study also found that Asean youths place higher value on soft skills than hard skills

  • 46 per cent of respondents said creativity and innovation are important

  • 46 per cent named language skills as important

  • 39 per cent indicated the ability to use technology such as social media and other applications as a key soft skill

  • One third said technology design like software programming skills were important

  • The two least highly valued skills are data analytics, and mathematics and science, which came in at 16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively

However, the skills that Asean youths value also vary by country, with Thai youths placing a greater emphasis on emotional intelligence and communication. The study attributes this to the country’s booming tourism and hospitality sector.

Singaporean youths gave more weight to analytical and critical thinking skills while those in the Philippines placed more importance on technology design and software programming.

The youths were asked about the primary reason for changing jobs

  • 19 per cent of respondents changed jobs to gain better opportunities and develop

  • 19 per cent gave reasons such as a higher salary

  • 10 per cent cited a better work-life balance

  • 9 per cent have made the switch for more flexible working hours

  • 2 per cent of respondents said that they lost their jobs due to technological disruptions

Related topics

ASEAN Youth enterpreneur

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