Singaporean youth most pessimistic in the region, about the impact of technology on their future

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Photo: YouTube screengrab
 

A survey done in July this year showed that when it comes to technology and its impact on the future, Singaporean youth are more pessimistic in comparison to young people from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, the six counties that make up ASEAN, the Association of South-east Asian Nations.

The survey was accomplished by the World Economic Forum and Sea, a regional internet company, and its findings were released yesterday, September 11, 2018.

It showed that

  • Only 3 out of 10 young people (31.2 per cent) in Singapore think that technology will make more jobs available in the future, while in the Philippines, the number of youth who think this way is six in 10 youth (60.3 per cent)
  • 53 percent of the country’s young people actually feel that technology will make fewer jobs available. This is the biggest number in all the countries surveyed. Among Filipino young people, in contrast, only 30.1 percent believe this.
  • 47.4 percent of Singaporean youth believe that technology will cause their income to go up, as opposed to Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, where more than 72 percent of the youth believe that technology will give them better earning power.
  • 37.4 percent of the country’s young people believe that technology will cause their earning power to diminish, while youth in Indonesia and Vietnam, 13.4 percent and 14 percent respectively think the same way

42,000 youths in the six countries responded to the survey, with around 2000 coming from Singapore. The survey showed that on the whole, ASEAN youth are positive that technology will have a good impact on their income and jobs. Around half (51.7 percent) believe that the number of jobs available to them will increase due to technology, and 67.1 percent think that because of technology, their future incomes will be higher.

Santitarn Sathirathai, the chief economist of Sea group, believes that it is because of the high level of education of Singaporeans that they have a pessimistic attitude concerning technology, since they are more aware of the possible disruption of jobs that rapid digitalization brings.

Mr. Sathirathai said this to members of the press in Hanoi, the venue for the World Economic Forum on Asean, where experts have gathered to meet concerning entrepreneurship and innovation. He believed this is also possible that people who are part of a highly educated workforce such as banking and retail are accustomed to predictability, stability, and a specific skill set, while those who are less educated are more flexible and able to switch between jobs more easily.

Another reason that may explain the pessimism of Singaporean youth, he said, is that they are older than the other respondents in the region, and older respondents have a greater tendency to be pessimistic about the impact of technology on their future.

The survey also tracked the employment aspirations of the youth in Southeast Asia, and found that many of Singapore’s young people want to be their own bosses in the future. While only 14.5 percent are self-employed, 20.2 percent want to won their own businesses in the future.

At present, 20.8 percent of the youth work for a foreign multinational corporation, while 23.5 percent aspire for this. The World Economic Forum and Sea believe that the youth see multinational companies as a higher source of income with more opportunities to learn as well as work in another country.

Only 5.2 percent of Singaporean youths expressed a desire to work for a charity or social enterprise, compared to the youth of Indonesia, of whom almost 10 percent expressed this desire.