When asked where they work today and where they would like to work, ASEAN youth prefers foreign multinationals and governments, even as a majority currently work either for themselves, their family business, or SMEs (58%).

The results of a survey 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 Southeast Asia are feeling about their future employment prospects, the World Economic Forum partnered with Sea, to survey 64,000 respondents aged 35 or younger, mainly citizens from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Additionally, ASEAN youth is highly optimistic about the likely impact of technology on their jobs and income, as evident in the findings:

  • 1% believe that technology will increase jobs, while 67% believe that technology will increase their incomes - but the picture varies by country, with Indonesia and the Philippines the most optimistic, and Singapore and Thailand the most pessimistic.
  • In Singapore, only 31% believe that technology will increase the number of jobs, compared to 60% in the Philippines
  • The results also vary by level of education. Among those who say they have no schooling, some 56% believe technology will increase jobs. Among those with a university degree or higher, only 47% feel the same way.
  • The results also suggest that the younger age groups are more optimistic about the impact of technology on jobs.

Finally, as smartphone penetration deepens and the mobile internet spreads across ASEAN, the young are spending ever more time online:

  • Overall, most respondents spend between three and nine hours online every day.
  • But a significant minority (22%) spend more than nine hours online every day.
  • The average amount of time spent online for all respondents across ASEAN is six hours and four minutes per day.
  • The results vary by country. The highest internet users are those in Thailand (seven hours and six minutes per day). The lowest internet users are in Vietnam (five hours and 10 minutes per day)
  • On average, respondents say 61% of their online activity is for leisure and 39% is for work.
  • More educated people spend more time online on work rather than on leisure.

Graphics / World Economic Forum