Tragedy of Millennials? International opportunities can transform lives

Wingtip - image credit: Ralf Roletschek

In a thought-provoking piece for the FT, Sarah O’Connor described how Millennials are too insecure to push for a raise. She suggests, by way of example, that two decades of uncertainty in Japan has instilled fearfulness and risk-aversion in the nation’s youth. O’Connor adds that many young people have bent over backwards to persuade anyone to give them a foothold:

In the US, the proportion of college graduates working in non-graduate jobs rose to 44 per cent after the recession.

In the eurozone, about 40 per cent of workers aged 15 to 29 are in temporary jobs that typically provide little training or progression.

But can the same be said of workers with international experience? An excellent report by the British Council (disclosure: I used to work for them, but I had no involvement with the making of this report) called A World of Experience reveals, among other stats:

  • 85 percent of those studying or working abroad for 3 months or more, or travelling for more than 6 months, described themselves as confident in their ability to meet new challenges
  • 82 percent of individuals with international experience were confident in their ability to adapt to new and unfamiliar situations
  • Respondents with international experience were also slightly more likely to describe themselves as resilient
  • Over half of those with university-level experience abroad (53 percent) reported that it helped them to get a job that interested them

Others agree. Writing for The Guardian, Felix Marquardt recognises that “young people are hurting and they are hurting on a global scale”, and warns of a generational crisis. The answer? “We need people to move.” He even suggests a global youth work visa that allows young people to work for up to two years in the country of their choice.

Finally, I can attest that grabbing opportunities abroad can be beneficial, as an expat with several years overseas experience. I’ve heard of an English-language teacher in China (teaching English can be well-paid, and there is demand) learning Mandarin, making connections and becoming a project manager. Imagine their value in the global labour market now!

UK internet speeds “dire”, blasts report: so where is best?

Palace of Westminster

If you’re a mobile worker or digital nomad, you will likely need fast internet (or at least reliable), so that you may do your job properly. No internet, no digital.

So a new report by UK MPs claiming that rural SMEs and consumers experience “dire” internet speeds in Britain, a popular startup and expat destination (and the world’s 5th biggest economy), comes as a surprise:

So where is best overall? It looks like Nordic countries and advanced Asian economies reign supreme, though they are arguably more expensive places for the average digital nomad to set up, according to Akamai’s Q3 2015 State of the Internet report:

Statistic: Countries with the highest average internet connection speed as of 3rd quarter 2015 (in Mbps) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

A more useful indicator might be Nomad List’s handy filters, showing that you could do worse than Thailand (Chiang Mai and Bangkok) if you’re a digital nomad needing fast internet.

Young British entrepreneurs more ambitious


Young British entrepreneurs are more confident and ambitious than older counterparts, at least according to the Albion Growth Report released by venture capital investor Albion Ventures.

Despite this, they are 5 times more likely to fail at raising finance, resulting in 25% reportedly using a credit card to finance their company. They are also more likely to admit to experiencing skill shortages than older entrepreneurs.

The Telegraph wrote (rather scathingly) that young entrepreneur high ambitions could mean they are delusional rather than talented.

Do you agree?