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Workers in India and Indonesia feel more career optimism than others in Asia-Pacific


People in Indonesia and India are more confident about their career prospects than workers in any other major economy in Asia Pacific.

That's according to new research from LinkedIn, which saw the two emerging nations rank ahead of Australia, China and Singapore in terms of their perceived employment opportunities.

In a study of 11,000 people across the region's nine leading countries, the LinkedIn Opportunity Index found that people in Indonesia felt most optimistic about their scope to advance in their careers, develop new skills and build their finances.

The sense of optimism prevalent in the Southeast Asian island nation was mirrored closely in India, followed by mainland China, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The professional network found that respondents in the more developed markets of Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan were less hopeful about their prospects. Many cited concerns over their countries' economic outlooks.

The findings are broadly reflective of each nation's growth projections. According to the IMF, India is forecast to achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7.3 percent this year, while Singapore is on course for a 2.9 percent expansion and Japan for a 1.1 percent boost.

The main exception was Indonesia. At a projected 5.1 percent growth, it is on track for weaker growth than both China and the Philippines, yet it is home to the most optimistic workers.

Barriers to success

While the vast majority — 9 out of 10 respondents — cited hard work as the key to getting ahead in life, they also noted several potential barriers to success.

Financial restraints emerged as the most prominent concern, and was cited by 30 percent of respondents. Other roadblocks included a lack of access to a professional network (22 percent), a difficult jobs market (19 percent), poor professional skills (18 percent) and limited direction and guidance (18 percent).

Those concerns were especially restricting for would-be entrepreneurs. Almost half, or 48 percent, said financial factors were holding them back from starting their own business, while more than a quarter, some 28 percent, felt they lacked the necessary contacts.

Meanwhile, respondents from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines cited a preference for work-life balance, which could also be reflective of their career drive.

LinkedIn's managing director for Asia Pacific, Olivier Legrand, said the report's findings provide an important barometer for the state of one of the fastest-growing work forces in the world.

"The growing workforce in the region is a key asset that, if harnessed effectively, is going to continue to drive the economies," said Legrand.

"Over time, by tracking people's perception of opportunity and the barriers they face, we hope we can continue to facilitate more of a balance between demand and supply in the opportunity marketplace."

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