Monday, July 22, 2019

De Leon: Millennial OFWs: Yes, they exist

Today, I'm on the last week of my three-week stint in Singapore (SG). It was the last stamp in my passport for 2017 and the first one for 2018.

While away, I was convinced that part of the big millennial dream is probably living and even working abroad, even if it’s just for a little bit. We have goals of traveling to a foreign country, reinventing ourselves and careers and even earning more to support our families.

A good friend of mine came to Singapore less than a year ago as a tourist but his itinerary did not include visiting the Merlion, Universal Studios or Orchard Road.

Instead, the 29-year-old Gen-Yer had only one goal: to find a job. (Yes! This is legal for foreign pros; once hired, firms apply for work passes) He would spend hours scouring employment websites every day, and often had only one meal a day to save up some dimes. And finally he landed at a company, drawing a monthly income of $2,800 (P105,000).

Soon enough, I've met more (roughly 23 to 29 years olds -- marketers, ITs, HRs, teachers, nurses and more) like my friend, who are increasingly taking a route once used mostly by maids to find employment in Singapore.

And SG is just one of the many countries worldwide. So what does this say?

First, contrary to popular notion that this age group are just a lot carefree and impatient with a high sense of self-entitlement, heaps tend to adhere to homegrown, conservative values yet are raring to take flight and work overseas for a better life.

And why not? Most of our bachelor’s degree holders have an average annual earnings of 156,000 pesos or 12,000 pesos a month. With the vast exposure to online recruiters and all the competition looking for a job here in the Philippines, others choose to look outside.

And second, this leads as to the idea that for the bravest and those who welcome new ways of doings things, "the ladder" has become obsolete.

Third, things change. Life happens. And maybe more significantly, so many of our older counterparts have the right DNA to be on the same spot, but they just weren’t lucky enough to be born during an era in which such opportunities seemed practical.

Fourth, blue collar, white collar — it doesn't matter. Filipinos can do it!

Stay Active until our next chat


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