Where do ASEAN youth want to work in the future? As per a survey by World Economic Forum and a Southeast Asian internet company Sea, a significant portion of youths (1 in 4) continues to aspire to work for themselves and start their own business. However, many working for SMEs would like to work for a different organization.
The results show a strong preference to work for foreign multinationals (10% work for one today, but 17% want to work for one in future) and for governments (13% today compared to 16% in future).
To understand how young people in South-east Asia are feeling about their future employment prospects, the World Economic Forum partnered with Sea, a Southeast Asian internet company, to survey the region’s younger generations. The survey targeted young, respondents aged 35 or younger, who were mainly citizens of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. In total, 64,000 respondents filled in the survey, with 42,000 respondents completing the survey.
In every country in ASEAN, the youth show a preference for working for a foreign MNC
Interestingly, in each of the six countries, the younger generation showed a preference for working for an MNC in the future. This preference indicates that the young may regard multinational companies as providing a better income or a more stable income. They may see them as an opportunity to work overseas. They may feel that they will learn more and gain richer experience working for a multinational company.
Youth in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore have a rising interest in entrepreneurship
The survey also found out that while the youth in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore want to work for themselves in the future, in Indonesia and the Philippines, the youth show a falling appetite for starting their own business. This could reflect underemployment in the informal economy and hence wishes for a better life and a more stable income in the future.
ASEAN youth are generally optimistic about the impact of technology on jobs
As per the survey, across ASEAN, young people are generally optimistic about the impact of technology on their employment prospects. 52% of ASEAN youth believe technology will increase the number of jobs available. By contrast, 37% of respondents believe the number of jobs will be reduced. But the picture varies significantly by country. Singapore and Thailand are the most pessimistic, while Indonesia and the Philippines are the most optimistic about the impact of technology on jobs.