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Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Jobs Survey ‘Optimistic’

3 March 2017 at 3:11 pm
Lina Caneva
Nearly three-quarters of young people in Sydney believe they will be better off than their parents, according to a global youth survey by Citi Foundation, which is investing more than $100 million to connect 500,000 young people to training and jobs.

Lina Caneva | 3 March 2017 at 3:11 pm


Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Jobs Survey ‘Optimistic’
3 March 2017 at 3:11 pm

Nearly three-quarters of young people in Sydney believe they will be better off than their parents, according to a global youth survey by Citi Foundation, which is investing more than $100 million to connect 500,000 young people to training and jobs.

The study, conducted by Ipsos, found that despite political, economic, and social upheaval, young people around the world were optimistic about their career prospects, but faced the reality of limited skills and opportunities. Sydney was one of 45 cities included in the global study.

Director of the employment policy department at the International Labour Organization Azita Berar Awad said the survey offered important insights.

“Youth labor markets are evolving rapidly, so are the aspirations and optimism of young women and men who are entering the labor market every day and are confronted by unemployment and/or low quality jobs,” Awad said.

“Channeling the voices of youth from cities across the world, the Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Survey 2017 offers important insights on youth’s perceptions, calling for improved and coordinated action, because, when young people have decent work, everyone benefits, and our future is more prosperous.”

Key survey findings included:

  • Despite uncertainty and change across the globe, 70 per cent of young people were optimistic about their career prospects. Optimism was even higher in cities across developing markets while worldwide 71 million young people were looking for work.
  • More often than not, there was a mismatch in the jobs youth had and what they wanted to do. Globally, 55 per cent of employed young people were currently working in an industry that they didn’t aspire to work in.
  • 78 per cent of young people believed internships/apprenticeships were critical for success, however 60 per cent said there weren’t enough of these opportunities.
  • Three out of four young people were willing to work long hours and take risks to achieve their career aspirations.
  • Young people had the entrepreneurial spirit but were not starting businesses. Nearly 70 per cent aspired to be entrepreneurs, yet only 6 per cent were actual entrepreneurs at present.

The global youth survey polled more than 7,000 young people aged 18 to 24 in 45 cities across 32 countries on all the continents except Antarctica between November 2016 and January 2017.

Some of the key Sydney findings included:

  • 73 per cent of young people surveyed believed they would be better off than their parents
  • 66 per cent of young people cited on the job experience as a key to success
  • 63 per cent of young people surveyed said there were not enough internships/apprenticeships available in Sydney
  • 63 per cent of young people surveyed said they had the opportunities to succeed in their preferred career in Sydney
  • 52 per cent of young people surveyed said they had a dream to own their own business, however 58 per cent of young people surveyed said new or small businesses were not likely to succeed in Sydney.

Chairman of the Committee for Sydney Michael Rose said: “The Citi Foundation’s 2017 Global Youth Survey offers a fresh perspective on young people, a group that is often easily overlooked in political and economic discourse.

“The results convey both optimism and concern: young people in Sydney are aspirational about their ability to succeed, but concerned about their career opportunities.

“We look forward to taking these insights and working across sectors with partners like the Citi Foundation to ensure we match aspirations of today’s youth with opportunities for success.”

The survey coincides with global bank Citi announcing a worldwide expansion of its Pathways to Progress initiative led by Citi Foundation which is investing US$100 million (A$130 million) to connect 500,000 young people, ages 16 to 24, to training and jobs over the next three years.

Citi CEO Michael Corbat said this was the “largest philanthropic commitment in the Citi Foundation’s history”.

“Pathways launched in 2014, with a $50 million effort that helped more than 100,000 young people across 10 cities become career ready through first jobs, internships, and leadership and entrepreneurship training,” Corbat said.

“The expansion also includes a commitment to have 10,000 Citi employees volunteer to serve as mentors, coaches and role models to young people and support their career progress.”

Corbat said Pathways to Progress aimed to help reduce youth unemployment in key cities around the world and improve the quality of the youth workforce.

“Globally, the youth unemployment rate is three times higher than the adult unemployment rate, which reflects a gap in the skills and networks many young people currently possess and what is required by many employers or needed to successfully launch an income-generating business,” he said.


In Australia, Citi Foundation has been supporting programs to address youth unemployment since 2015.

These programs currently include:

  • The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Creating Futures for Youth: supporting young people’s transition from learning to employment in Frankston, Victoria
  • Global Sisters’ Sister School: a business education program enabling women to start a business and enable financial independence
  • Skilling Australia Foundation’s Citi New Recruits: providing job-ready skills and access to employment through traineeships and apprenticeships
  • Social Ventures Australia’s The Community Schoolyard: a collective impact study designed to improve school to work transitions in Rooty Hill, New South Wales.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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One comment

  • Lissa Barnum says:

    This story was heartening considering our %13.5 unemployment of our youth. Thank you for the post. We have a program for 12-24 year olds to help guide their prospects. If interested, contact us. Social good for career options

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