Millennials Are Moving Abroad for Work—and It’s Not Just About the Money
As a leader in the employee relocation industry, ARC Relocation has studied the trends. We’ve uncovered unique insight into the behavior and mindset of Millennials regarding career moves. But before we begin, let’s define exactly who fits the demographic:
Millennials… the cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid-1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years, with 1981 to 1996 a widely accepted definition. – Wikipedia
Largely, Millennials are a highly-educated contingent. They’re more likely to delay marriage than previous generations and place a high premium on corporate social responsibility (CSR) when seeking employment. With a myriad of technology available to them since childhood, Millennials have a heavy presence on social media and are exceptionally tech-savvy. And our data firmly concludes that they move overseas for work more than any generation before them.
Job Opportunities Millennials Pursue
The most-coveted positions Millennials seek fall into the categories of software, data, and management. Popular job searches for this generation, all accompanied by high annual salaries, include software engineer, data scientist, and product manager.
Although not necessarily the highest paid positions, according to FlexJobs, remote work best-suited for living abroad includes positions related to writing, editing, graphic design, and social media management.
Substantial Salary Increases
The dreamy notion of moving abroad has become a reality for many Millennials. While their reasons may be somewhat based on wanderlust and adventure, their wallets are reaping the benefits. When accepting a position abroad, Millennials have found their salaries boosted by as much as 35%. In comparison, their older counterparts are met with more modest pay raises (9%-24%).
So where are Millennials finding the greatest salary increases abroad?
Catalysts for Making the Move
ARC Relocation tracked down the top reasons Millennials opt to work overseas:
Better work-life balance.
Denmark and Spain both consistently rank high in happiness studies. Full-time working professionals in Denmark receive five weeks of paid vacation.
A reduced cost of living.
They recognize the perks of working in affordable locations. A few top considerations are Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Spain, and Panama. A comfortable lifestyle could cost as little as $800 a month in the Philippines.
An improved quality of life.
Switzerland, UK, Norway, and Australia are all lauded for their affordable healthcare. Economics, education, and safety rank high in Australia’s quality of life studies.
A desire to work remotely (“the digital nomad”).
Estonia, Vietnam, Portugal, Czech Republic, Thailand, and New Zealand all offer great flexibility for remote work. Ho Chi Minh City is considered Vietnam’s entrepreneurial epicenter with well-connected coworking spaces and coffee shops offering free wi-fi.
Additional Considerations: International Cities with Low Rent-to-Income Ratios
The cost of rent can quickly usurp income, especially when looking to live in a major metropolis. But the following five international cities offer the lowest rental costs relative to average salaries:
|City||Monthly Income Allotted to Rent|
Living that Expat Life!
The 2019 MetLife Worldwide Benefits Survey revealed surprising data: many Gen Xers join Millennials in their affinity to live and work overseas (71% and 75%, respectively). Their motivations were similar as well. Both groups seek new experiences, personal fulfillment, and increased salary.
While the US is the first choice for professionals around the world to move for work, a recent Randstad study found that 64% of Americans would move out of the country for a better work-life balance while 58% would for a more meaningful career.
Best Places to Live (Regardless of Generation)
Drift Travel ranks the following cities as the best all-around locations regardless of age. Some factors considered include affordability, healthcare, infrastructure, entertainment, and crime rate.
- Algarve, Portugal
- Cascais, Portugal
- Mazatlán, Mexico
- Cuenca, Ecuador
- Valletta, Malta
For those who prefer to reside closer to home, a SmartAsset assessment finds these US cities gaining the greatest number of Millennials. Job opportunities and affordable housing are significant contributing factors:
|Dallas, Texas||Norfolk, Virginia|
|Seattle, Washington||Charlotte, North Carolina|
|Portland, Oregon||Colorado Springs, Colorado|
|Columbia, South Carolina||San Diego, California|
No Time Like the Present
Over 9 million Americans live abroad—and that number is rapidly growing. Although often pursued by Millennials, the desire to follow a career-related dream overseas doesn’t belong to one specific generation. So whatever age or generation you’ve been assigned, right now may be the best time to take advantage of that opportunity.
Research obtained from: