Fewer than 40 percent of young people in Seoul are optimistic about their careers, according to a survey by Citi Foundation. Seoul ranked the lowest among major cities around the world when it comes to the ratio of positive outlooks at only 38 percent.
The foundation conducted the survey among 18 to 24-year-olds in 25 cities including London, New York, San Francisco, Singapore and Tokyo.
It was part of the foundation's "Pathways to Progress" project, which involves an investment of US$100 million "to connect 500,000 young people, ages 16-24, to training and jobs over the next three years."
Respondents in Seoul exhibited despair rather than hope and helplessness instead of ambition.
Asked to compare their generation to their parents', who benefited from Korea's rapid industrialization and economic growth, they said their futures are bleaker.
Only 51 percent of the respondents feel they have more opportunities to succeed professionally, the second-lowest proportion in the poll after Madrid, which has a youth unemployment rate of a staggering 43 percent.
Asked if the situation is difficult for start-ups, 74 percent here said yes, the highest ratio among the cities surveyed. That may be why only 48 percent of youngsters in Seoul dreamed of being entrepreneurs.
Seoul also had the lowest number of people who aspire to become scientists or technology experts to spearhead the fourth industrial revolution at a measly 13.