Despite the difficulties of living through a pandemic for the past two years, Singaporean youths remain optimistic about the future.
This is according to Redhill’s ASEAN Youth Survey which analyzes the roles of Southeast Asia’s youths as key drivers of economic, cultural, and socio-political change. The study attempts to take a snapshot view of their aspirations and concerns on governance, the economy, education, healthcare, life choices and online activity –through the eyes of nearly 3,000 people aged 18-35 across seven ASEAN nations.
“The past two years have been highly challenging for youths in Singapore,” said said Pranav Rastogi, Managing Director, Redhill.
“Nevertheless, their highly positive sentiments towards how the government has been successfully managing the situation on multiple fronts are helping them stay optimistic. Although concerns and challenges prevail, they believe that there is a solid platform for them to look towards a better new normal.”
- A majority (nearly 70%) of Singaporean youths are highly positive towards the government’s handling of the pandemic
- Most youths (87%) from Southeast Asia say that they are worried about job security and 70% of the same group believe that they have enough money to spend on essentials now but worry about providing for the future
- In terms of healthcare, most Singaporean youths (87%) feel that basic healthcare provision in the country is good, and most believe its affordability and access is adequate (72%)
- Across the region, most youths think that obtaining both basic and tertiary education is easy – a sentiment shared in Singapore
- On life choices, the highest-ranked pursuit among Singaporean youths includes career (92%), healthcare (91%), family (89%), personal development (88%) and education (87%)
- Most Singaporean youths are digitally connected, with an overwhelming majority stating social media as their primary source of news (83%)
Summary of findings
The following was provided by Redhill:
Governance & Economy
At nearly 70 percent, Singaporean youth sentiment towards the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been highly positive. Singapore’s management of the situation is also accredited by their neighbours; 41 percent of all regional respondents noted Singapore as the best nation in managing the pandemic.
This optimism can also be seen in the youths’ perceptions of representation in the country; 68 percent of respondents were positive about opportunities for active citizenship and social advocacy. There were also mostly positive sentiments towards opportunities for public engagement and gender inclusion, as well as for the ability to publicly engage on race and minority issues – albeit these were lower at 51 percent and 62 percent respectively.
On economic matters, most respondents (87 percent) across all the Southeast Asian countries surveyed stated that they are worried about their job security. While most of this group (70 percent) noted that they have enough funds to spend on essentials now, they remain concerned about providing for the future. Here, 77 percent of the respondents even believed that – to meet their financial aspirations – they would need to take on another job.
These sentiments were somewhat reflected in Singapore, with some concerns tied to local macroeconomic factors. Most Singaporean youths perceive that their country has implemented adequate policies for post-pandemic recovery and growth (56 percent), although a third were more ambivalent and 11 percent were more worried. Additionally, considering current job market uncertainties, most Singaporean youths at 65 percent find it easy to find upskilling opportunities locally.
In terms of healthcare, an overwhelming majority (87 percent) of Singaporean youths believe basic healthcare provision in the country is good, and most believe that its affordability and access is adequate (72 percent). With the basic healthcare security perceived to have been met, it is of little surprise that nearly all local respondents (96 percent) also had positive remarks on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout’s adequacy.
Even on speaking about more culturally sensitive matters such as sexual health, Singaporean youths are largely open – evident in most respondents at 42 percent stating as such. This openness was also translated into their opinions towards discussing mental health matters, as most Singaporean youths at 53 percent were more willing to discuss it with their trusted networks.
Education & Life Choices
Across the region, most of the respondents believe that obtaining both basic and tertiary education is easy – a trend that followed in Singapore. In terms of whether Singapore’s education system is highly competitive, nearly all at 94 percent agree. Although most respondents at nearly 40 percent noted that they can handle education-related stress, groups that had more negative views represented nearly a third, with the remaining 28 percent being ambivalent.
When queried about their life choices, the respondents were given a list of life pursuits to rate the degree of importance they attribute to them. In Singapore, the highest-ranked pursuit is career (92 percent), followed by healthcare (90 percent), family (89 percent), personal development (88 percent) and education (87 percent). To note, despite the ongoing pandemic’s challenges, Singaporean youths remain optimistic about their future – most at 62 percent were planning to travel internationally with their countries opening up and most at over 50 percent think that owning their own home is financially realistic. However, there is concern towards building their own families, with 73 percent believing it to be financially challenging.
The survey also found that Singaporeans are digitally connected. Most respondents primarily source their news from social media (83 percent), and most at 45 percent spend between five and ten hours a day on such platforms. With this digital reliance, most Singaporean youths at 80 percent believe that there should be more education on helping people determine news accuracy. Even so, most at 58 percent believe their country’s regulations are effective in curbing fake news and with that, most at 52 percent show some level of comfort in having their real-life political opinions influenced by online political discourse.
Redhill’s ASEAN Youth Survey 2021 report will be released on 27 December 2021 and can be downloaded here.
Featured image: John T, via Unsplash