Singapore comes in 4th globally in enabling youth economic progress

Published Thu, Dec 17, 2015 · 09:50 PM
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SINGAPORE is fourth in the world when it comes to enabling youth economic progress, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report commissioned by Citi Foundation.

Coming behind Toronto, New York and Chicago, Singapore still beat its other 12 Asia-Pacific counterparts, with Hong Kong coming in next at fifth place.

The study titled Accelerating Pathways surveyed more than 5,000 youth aged 18-25 on their perceptions of their economic prospects and aspirations, and includes a city-level index that evaluated the economic environment of youth in 35 cities worldwide based on 31 indicators, ranging from GDP growth to levels of youth engagement.

In the employment and entrepreneurship category, Singapore came in tops, and was also consistently in the top 10 for the other categories: 7th for government support and institutional framework for youth, 7th for education and training, and 7th for human and social capital.

Singapore was also first in class for 12 sub-indicators, including corruption, government effectiveness, quality of employment opportunities for youth, access to technology, quality of health care and safety.

Not all is rosy in the city-state, however.

Singapore was ranked the worst out of all 35 cities for cost of living, and 32nd for youth optimism about their economic future.

The city-state also ranked 33rd when it comes to migration, which was based on whether respondents had moved for school, work or a better life in the last five years.

However, the study noted that youths in cities that had high rankings such as Toronto, Sydney and Hong Kong tended to be less optimistic about their future prospects, while the inverse holds true.

In the same vein, cities where 80 per cent or more of young people are optimistic do not rank particularly well in the overall index. These include Manila, Jakarta and Mumbai.

Globally, the survey also found that young people are ready to build businesses, with 77 per cent of respondents expressing an interest in working for themselves or starting their own business.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, the gender pay gap is also prevalent among youth. Young women earn at least 20 per cent less than men across the cities surveyed.

"Young people's economic vitality and ambition are powerful growth engines for the world's cities," said Leo Abruzzese, global director of public policy at the EIU. "Cities are set to hold 60 per cent of the entire population by 2030, just as the number of youth increases by 100 million globally. Now more than ever, cities must prioritise this growing population segment."

Added Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation: "Investing in youth is critical to ensuring the economic resiliency and long-term competitiveness of cities, but is often overlooked. We hope this research strengthens and guides the discussion about programmes and policies that can best support young people's contribution to sustainable cities now and in the future."

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