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More than half of Singapore youth think technology will decrease jobs

Singapore Business Review logo Singapore Business Review 12/9/2018 Staff Reporter
More than half of Singapore youth believes technology will decrease jobs © Provided by Singapore Business Review More than half of Singapore youth believes technology will decrease jobs

They are the most pessimistic in Southeast Asia when it comes to the issue.

A majority (53%) of Singapore youth believe that technology will reduce the number of jobs, making them the most pessimistic about the issue in Southeast Asia (SEA), a study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and internet firm Sea revealed.

"Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies like artificial intelligence, advanced robotics and self-driving vehicles will bring significant disruption to the job market," WEF head of Asia Pacific Justin Wood said.

Only 31.2% of Singapore youth are positive that technology will increase the number of jobs whilst 15.8% believes that the number of jobs will not be influenced by technology.

Following the Singapore youth's mindset, 43.6% of youth from Thailand believe that technology will threaten the number of jobs in their economy.

Despite this, the ASEAN sentiment, in general, seems to be more positive compared to their global counterpart, Wood noted. Youth from the Philippines 60.3% and Indonesia (54%) are the most positive in the region that technology will help increase the number of jobs.

"No one knows yet what impact these technologies will have on jobs and salaries," he said. "Globally there is concern that technological change may bring rising inequality and joblessness."

The survey also found that 58% of the SEA respondents work for small businesses, which may be their own, their family business, or a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME). One in four of them revealed that they want to start their own business.

"It is encouraging to see such strong entrepreneurial drive among ASEAN's young population, with one-quarter of respondents wanting to start their own business," Sea group chief economist Santitarn Sathirathai commented.

Meanwhile, many of those working for SMEs said that they would like to work for a different organization in the future. In contrast, the results show a strong preference to work for foreign multinational companies (MNCs) as 10% currently work for MNCs, whilst 17% wants to work for one in the future.

"Looking ahead, it will be important to continue to enhance SME adoption of digital technologies to ensure young entrepreneurs and small businesses have the resources they need to succeed," Sathirathai noted.

The survey included responses from 64,000 ASEAN citizens.

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