Pakistan’s young population has the skills and dedication to thrive despite Covid-19

According to a survey report by Standard Chartered, young people will use technical expertise to make most of the opportunities the post-Covid world will offer.

The world may have taken a massive economic blow because of the still ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but that has still not left most young professionals desolate. According to a recent study by Standard Chartered conducted across 12 global markets, more than three quarters of the professional workforce feel they will be ready to utilize the opportunities that will arise post Covid-19. 

The Standard Chartered survey was conducted online, and 12,000 respondents from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, UAE, Kenya, Pakistan, the UK and the US gave insights into the financial shake-up that Covid-19 had caused and how they plan to deal with the future fallout of the ongoing crisis. 

To measure the impact of the coronavirus on livelihoods and to see what demographic was most suited to the post pandemic future, Standard Chartered presented the findings of the ‘young’ demographic, those aged between 18-34, separately as well. These showed that they would be the ones best equipped to make the most of the opportunities the world would present after the end of the pandemic. 

What will these opportunities be? According to the survey, using more technology, learning new skills, and focusing on digital talents are the main tools that will be needed to make the most of the post Covid-19 world. The increasing focus on technology and digital skills has been driven by young people in emerging markets, who are the demographic group that is the most confident, the most willing to adapt and prepared to work hardest. 

The results showed that incomes have fallen for a third of people globally, with the rate being a little higher at 35% in Pakistan. More than half the respondents said they expected a major change in the next three to six months, from reduced hours to reduced pay and the fears of being forced into early retirement or of becoming redundant. 

However, at the same time, 79% of respondents felt that they would prefer working harder than they would working fewer hours for less pay. The number is a positive indication of work ethic, but perhaps most importantly, compared to the 79% overall figure, 86% of young people said they’d rather work harder than work fewer hours and get paid less. 

The way Standard Chartered measured ‘young’ for this survey was all people between the ages of 18-34. At the same time, at least 80% of young people in the survey said that they were confident their digital skills were going to help them thrive in the post coronavirus world. 

Similarly, only 65% of people are looking to add a second income stream to make more money, while in the young demographic, 72% of people said they were actively looking for another source of income. The demographic also showed more entrepreneurial zeal, with 54% saying they were looking to start a new business. In comparison, the overall number of people looking to start a new number was only 46%. 

Naturally, with the desire to start new businesses or find other means of making money comes the need to learn or acquire new skills. At least 74% of young people said they were looking to retain or learn new skills, compared to only 64% for the rest of the population, as well as 87% of young people saying they would use more technology in the future. 

However, it must be remembered that while they are optimistic about the future and what they can do with it, this demographic of young people have also been badly affected by the global recession caused by the virus. In fact, they have been affected more, with 36% of young people seeing an income drop compared to the one third of people that saw an income drop overall. In Pakistan, the numbers are closer to half. 

Because of this, there seems to be a great desire to better manage money, particularly within the young population. Among young people, 81% said they were looking for ways to better manage their money, compared to only the 77% of people who said the same overall. And banks like Standard Chartered know that they will have a role in helping young people manage their finances better, and that role will only become more important if they end up doing even better in the post pandemic future. 

“Young people around the world have been hit particularly hard by the economic impact of the pandemic,” says Ben Hung, CEO of Retail Banking, and Wealth Management and Regional CEO for Greater China & North Asia at Standard Chartered. “Many are in insecure employment or graduating into a tough job market. Yet their confidence, adaptability and willingness to work hard, especially in fast-growing markets, provides hope for the recovery.”

“Many are considering starting a new business in the wake of the pandemic but want to learn how to manage their finances better. They must be supported. Banks have a role to play both by helping them manage their money and providing tools that make banking easier so they can focus on leading the way to recovery.”

This, and all of the other findings, will be particularly important in Pakistan. Why? Well, because Pakistan has a very large young demographic. In fact, one of the reasons experts are giving for Pakistan’s relevant success in curbing the virus has been a young population. With nearly three quarters of the population less than the age of 29, Standard Chartered will have a major opportunity. 

“Pakistan is a country with a young and vibrant population, and it needs to make space for them to play an active part in the future development of the country,” says Ms. Khadija Hashimi, Head of Corporate Affairs and Brand & Marketing, at Standard Chartered Pakistan. “With 70 percent of the population younger than 29, Pakistan’s vibrant youth are eager to engage with a dynamic, open mind to resolve problems.  The current pandemic has enabled us to understand that adopting Digital technology will be a game changer for the country.”

“Digital transformation coupled with building an active entrepreneurial ecosystem, will provide opportunities for creating new jobs and helping exploit the untapped potential of the society. Financial institutions and especially Banks need to step forward and provide guidance and support to make people understand how to make better and more productive use of their money.”

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