Poll: Singapore youth less keen on being entrepreneurs than Asean peers

The survey also found that Singapore respondents were less keen than their peers to work overseas in the next three years.
The survey also found that Singapore respondents were less keen than their peers to work overseas in the next three years. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Young people in Singapore are far less keen on being entrepreneurs than their peers across the region, according to a survey out yesterday.

It found that just 17 per cent of those polled said they wanted to work for themselves in the future.

This was in contrast to five other nations in the poll by the World Economic Forum and Internet company Sea. It noted that on average, 33 per cent of respondents said they wanted to work in an entrepreneurial setting. The keenest budding entrepreneurs were in Indonesia, where 36 per cent said they wanted to run their own show.

The poll questioned 56,000 people aged 15 to 35 from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam last month.

It found that 9 per cent of the respondents said they worked for a multinational company, and 19 per cent said they wanted to do so in the future.

But traditional small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are not start-ups were viewed less favourably. While SMEs form the backbone of Asean labour markets, small companies may face recruitment challenges, said the report.

Although 18 per cent of the young people surveyed work for SMEs now, only 8 per cent want to work for such firms in the future. One reason cited for the low interest is that they receive less training at small companies than at larger ones.

Although 18 per cent of the young people surveyed work for SMEs now, only 8 per cent want to work for such firms in the future. One reason cited for the low interest is that they receive less training at small companies than at larger ones.

The survey also found that Singapore respondents were less keen than their peers to work overseas in the next three years. Only 34 per cent said they would like to work abroad, compared with the overall share of 47 per cent.

More than half of the Asean youth surveyed felt they must upgrade their skills constantly. The skills considered most important by respondents were creativity and innovation, language skills and the ability to use technology.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article said the survey was commissioned by the World Economic Forum. It was updated to reflect that Sea was also involved in developing the survey. We are sorry for the error.
 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2019, with the headline 'Poll: S'pore youth less keen on being entrepreneurs than Asean peers'. Print Edition | Subscribe