ST polls show youth are more keen to talk about jobs

Job issues also among popular topics at Youth Conversations

Online polls by The Straits Times show that young people are interested to talk about issues surrounding the job situation, a topic which was also keenly discussed at the first Youth Conversations session held last Saturday.

The polls on Instagram and Twitter - social media platforms popular with the young - asked respondents to rate issues youth in Singapore find interesting.

They were given four options in the Twitter poll: job (Singaporeans first); fight fake news; improve public transport; and smart nation (cashless).

Of the 2,110 responses, 45 per cent indicated that job (Singaporeans first) was their top topic.

In The Straits Times' Instagram poll, respondents had to choose between four sets of topics with each set comprising two topics pitted against each other.

Over 3,300 votes were for concerns about finding a job compared to buying the first home (1,561). However, stopping fake news received the most attention with 3,550 votes.

The polls were conducted last month, soon after Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu announced during the 2018 Budget debate that young people were to be targeted for the Youth Conversations sessions.

About 2,000 people, aged between 15 and 35, will be engaged at conferences, roadshows, schools and malls, and thousands more through its social media channels, as part of ongoing conversations.

Organiser the National Youth Council said the dialogues are to "help take voices of youths into account in the policymaking process".

Besides the dialogues, the youth council is also conducting an online survey to get a sense of the topics youth are passionate about.

Some 150 tertiary students and working adults took part in the first session at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

A number of participants raised the issue of job security, said Mr Yuvan Mohan, 30, who attended the session.

He said while there may be many jobs available, the requirements are constantly changing.

"Also, new industries are being frayed and there is a challenge to either learn new skills or utilise existing skills to be relevant in such industries," added Mr Yuvan, who works in a bank.

Mr Ang Kian Siong, 23, is worried about his job prospects. The first-year psychology student said private university graduates draw a lower salary, a concern for him and his classmates.

"I worry about my future because of the number of graduates looking for jobs," he added.

National University of Singapore sociologist Ho Kong Chong said the conversations that the Government is having with young people are important.

"Each generation is affected by different things," he said. "So it's important to have this ongoing conversation because youth are the ones most likely to experience and face new challenges."