Most Bangladeshi youths (57% female; 42% male) see government jobs as the most viable career. Many educated young people from well-off families want to establish their own businesses. On the other hand, youths with no or less institutional education want to find work abroad to secure better earning. Moreover, only 5% of the respondents believe that their educational qualification will help them secure employment.
However, more women than men were found to be concerned about their children’s wellbeing. As much as 34% of women put their children’s wellbeing ahead of any other issues of their life. Only 11% of men are as much concerned about their children.
Currently, Bangladesh is enjoying a unique historical period of “demographic dividend” with its working-age population (15-59) way bigger than the non-working age population. At the same time, according to the Commonwealth’s Global Youth Development Index Bangladesh is among the worst-performing countries. Although their awareness about this issue is rising, there is a shortage of evidence-based information about what the country’s young people are thinking and aspiring for. This youth survey is an effort to fill that gap.
BRAC, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) and BRAC University conducted the Youth Survey 2018 involving 4200 respondents. Bangladesh was divided into five regions, from which 30 Upazilas were randomly selected. Two unions/wards were selected from the Upazilas, from which one village or neighborhood (mahalla) were taken. Finally, from each village/neighborhood, 14 respondents (7 women and 7 men) were randomly selected. Following this process, a total of 4,200 respondents aged 15-35 years were surveyed.
The survey focused on the self-identity, aspirations, institutional education, skills, choice and the preparation to enter the employment of the respondents. Among the respondents, 7% male and 4% female had higher education and 14% had vocational training. Of the respondents, only 16% were confident about their English language and computer skills. The confidence level among women and less educated respondents were lower than the average. Around 40% had access to the internet, although urban spaces offered better access than the rural ones.
Youth and sports acting secretary Dr Md Jafar Uddin said some of the findings in this survey may look like problems, but they actually are not. Rather they should be regarded as challenges. “By overcoming these challenges, the nation will go forward through effective collaboration between the public and private sectors.”
BRAC acting executive director Asif Saleh said BRAC has long been engaged in the skill development of young people, “Now we are on to introducing school-based learning programs that will contribute to their future skill development.”