Employees in India, Indonesia and China are more hopeful about their career prospects than workers in any other major economy, according to a new study from LinkedIn. Optimism levels emerged far higher in the three expansive Asian nations than in some of the world’s leading jobs markets, including the US., Canada, Germany and the U.K.
The professional networking site surveyed more than 30,000 18- to 65-year-olds across 22 markets for its annual LinkedIn Opportunity Index, which seeks to gauge the challenges and opportunities affecting today’s workforce. It measured seven metrics of optimism including respondents’ perception of the economy over the next 12 months, their financial situations and their quality of life as compared with their parents’ generation.
India topped the list with a score of 121, well above the global average of 100, followed by Indonesia, with 117, and China, with 116, due to citizens’ faith in their countries’ economic prospects and growing jobs markets. Indeed, 50% of Gen Z respondents and 48% of millennials in the three Asian countries said they expected their country’s economy to improve in the next 12 months, boosting their work prospects in the process.
That optimism reflects a broadly positive economic outlook for Asia Pacific. The region is set to surpass the rest of the world in terms of gross domestic product, according to the World Economic Forum, even as India and China face slowing growth.
Olivier Legrand, managing director of LinkedIn in Asia Pacific, said the findings indicate an underlying confidence that developing nations are on an upward trajectory. “Despite slowing economic growth in these developing markets, their people are confident in their markets’ economic growth potential, as well as improvements in their personal finances for the year,” Legrand told CNBC Make It. “Likewise, the contrasting levels of optimism between developed and developing markets suggest that people in developed economies may believe that their market has reached a saturation point in terms of actual economic growth,” he added.
This year’s three front-runners were little changed from the company’s last report, though the United Arab Emirates, with a score of 115, pushed up to take fourth position.
The U.S. topped the optimism rankings among Western nations, buoyed by a prolonged period of economic expansion and a strong jobs market.
Other major economies that recorded average or below average optimism levels include Canada, with a score of 98, Singapore, with 95, and the U.K., with 91. Japan, a country renowned for its unforgiving working hours, ranked at the bottom, with a score of 80.
“Respondents in Japan feel that their quality of life has dropped in comparison to their parents. This sentiment may be one of the factors that has contributed to their less optimistic outlook on future economy and opportunities,” Legrand noted.
Even in the most hopeful nations, however, a number of hurdles united respondents across the board. Financial resources, age and difficult job markets emerged as the top barriers to career progression, according to employees. But Legrand said staff should be encouraged that they can overcome those challenges, particularly in relation to age. Indeed, in LinkedIn’s global Talent Trends 2020 report, 89% of hiring professionals said they believed multigenerational workforces are more successful.
Legrand recommended employees develop a “growth mindset” and attempt to learn from, and share lessons with, colleagues across different age brackets in order to progress. Employers, meanwhile, could do more to support their staff through multigenerational training and courses to improve employees’ skills, he said.
“For the first time, four generations are working together,” noted Legrand. “We encourage companies to bring in diverse hiring practices to hire for complementary skills and to promote collaboration and bi-directional mentorship among their workforce.”