By Dominic Salacki, Staff Writer

Ever since the turn of the 20th century, when immigrants began flooding into Ellis Island from overseas in search of a new life, the U.S. has been living up to its name ‘The Land of Opportunity’ as the immigrants drove new age of redefining the working class and what it means to be an American.

Flash-forward 100 years to America’s millennial generation, a group very different from their ancestors, and you'll find a generation interested in immigrating from America to other countries, searching for futures that they believe cannot be found in their home country.

The World As We Know It

“The shifting balance of global growth is making emerging economies more attractive; it is turning them into receiving countries, when traditionally they’ve been sending countries," Madeleine Sumption, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, told TIME in 2012. "‘Emerging markets’ are part of the equation, and the larger part is a lack of opportunity—not enough benefits let alone jobs—in the U.S.”

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), most Millennials expect to work abroad at some point in their careers. Colleges and universities like Towson University enjoy massive popularity of their Study Abroad programs. With institutions offering opportunities like these, and with modern technology bringing companies and cultures together, the result is that this generation is very likely to get opportunities abroad, unlike older generations.

“In an increasingly globalized world, international experience is seen by millennials as a vital element to a successful career," the PwC study said. "Millennials have a strong appetite for working abroad, with 71 percent keen to do so at some stage during their career."

Potential ties to the United States economy has likely declined since the 2008 home market crash; millennials continue to enter the job market with crippling student loan obligations that will last no matter where the graduates work. Hannah K. Gold reported that the class of 2012 strolled off campus with an average of $29,400 in unpaid student loans and the number has steadily risen by six percent each year since 2008.

With such bleak prospects, it shouldn’t be surprising to find out that the number of Americans ages 25 to 32 who are planning to move abroad has quadrupled in the last two years. In 2007, 12 percent of students, ages 18 to 24, expressed interest in moving overseas. Today, that percentage has moved up to 40 percent.

Fields of Opportunity

Many young, educated Americans now consider non-traditional starts to their careers, such as through short-term overseas projects with non-profits like Teach for All.

“In the past, Americans often took foreign jobs for the adventure or because their career field demanded overseas work; today, these young people are leaving because they can’t find jobs in the United States," writes Emily Matchar for the Washington Post

Many of the jobs that Americans are looking to pursue overseas are mostly in teaching or technology. In 2009, a company that places English-speaking teachers in schools overseas, Reach to Teach, received twice as many applications as it had in the previous year. The same year, Japan Exchange and Teaching had a 15 percent increase in applications from the U.S. This is likely due to the post-recession difficulties millennials have encountered trying to find steady jobs at home.

Where To?

For those US workers who would welcome the idea of working abroad, there's a strong preference for European or English-speaking countries, with the UK and Canada taking two of the top three spots on the following list.

Here are the top 10 foreign countries US workers say they would consider moving to for a job, as reported by Bullfax:
1. United Kingdom
2. Germany
3. Canada
4. Italy
5. France
6. Switzerland
7. Australia
8. Ireland
9. Spain
10. Sweden

While developed economies are known to more popular, with 58 percent of the millennial interest in the U.S. and 48 percent in the U.K., PwC reported that 53 percent would be willing to work in a less developed country, but only 11 percent would consider working in India.

“This is... about leveraging the strengths of the Millennials to create a better workplace," said Lauren Rikleen, a workforce development expert, in a Forbes interview. "In fact, what the data demonstrates Millennials want from work is very good for the workplace. For example, Millennials seek: training opportunities; leadership development; on-going feedback so they can continually improve their job performance; transparency so they can understand how they are contributing to the bigger picture, whatever their own role may be; and the opportunity to do meaningful work."

The ever-changing economy and social climate have presented us with yes, challenges, but let's not forget opportunities. We as a generation have the ability to contribute to the global village, just as our ancestors did when coming to America. So where does your journey begin? 

Posted
AuthorNick Salacki
CategoriesCareer