Emily Matchar‘s report of many, including professors, seeking employment overseas:
After applying for 279 jobs over two years, my husband finally got the offer he’d been hoping for: a well-paid position teaching philosophy at a respected university. We should have been thrilled. There was just one little thing.
The job was in Hong Kong.
“I feel like we’re being deported from our own country,” my husband said.
“It’ll be an adventure,” I replied, trying to sound game.
“I wasn’t looking for an adventure,” he said. “I was just looking for a job.”
We didn’t know we would be part of a wave of educated young Americans heading overseas in search of better employment opportunities. According to State Department estimates, 6.3 million Americans are studying or working abroad, the highest number ever recorded. What’s more, the percentage of Americans ages 25 to 34 who are planning to move overseas has quintupled in two years, from less than 1 percent to 5.1 percent. Among 18- to 24-year-olds, 40 percent are interested in moving abroad, up from 12 percent in 2007.
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. They’re leaving because the jobs they do find often don’t offer benefits such as health insurance. They’re leaving because the gloomy atmosphere of the American economy makes it hard to break through with a new innovative idea or business model. “This is a huge movement,” says Bob Adams, president and chief executive of America Wave, an organization that studies overseas relocation.