What you need to know
62.3% of young Taiwanese aged 20 to 35 plan to work abroad, 89.2% of which explain that the low salaries in Taiwan are what drive them to leave the country. While more young Taiwanese intend to work overseas, the Philippines, which has struggled with economic development for decades, has been able to keep its young talent from leaving the country in recent years.
Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee
A recent survey conducted by Business Weekly shows that 62.3% of Taiwanese aged 20 to 35 plan to work abroad. 89.2% of these young adults say that the low salaries in Taiwan are what drive them to leave the country.
According to the survey, 75.9% of the subjects think Taiwan does not provide enough opportunities for young people and that working abroad can improve their resumes.
Some subjects also say that the salary level of other countries is better than Taiwan. On average, countries such as the UK and the US offer salaries 2.5 times more than those in Taiwan, while Japan and Singapore offer 2.4 times more, China 2.3 times, and ASEAN countries 2.2 times.
Japan is the country where most young Taiwanese want to work, with 28% saying they would choose Japan if they go abroad now. 36% of the young Taiwanese say China and ASEAN countries have the best future prospects for economic development.
Last month, a 25-year-old woman wrote a letter to Democratic Progressive Party legislator Chen Ting-fei, saying that she was leaving to work in Singapore and feels disappointed in Taiwan’s unfriendly environment for startups and innovation. She said she was forced to go to Singapore to find investors.
At the end of the letter, the woman also wrote that the brain drain will continue if Taiwan’s job environment does not improve.
Recently, Business Weekly and the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research did a collaborative study that picks out Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar as the seven most promising emerging economies for young Taiwanese to explore in the next ten years.
Gong Ming-xin, incoming deputy minister of the National Development Council, says that Beijing and Shanghai no longer provide young Taiwanese with more opportunities. Countries that people are more unfamiliar with, such as ASEAN countries, are the ones that can allow young, talented people to grow immensely.
Gong says that the incoming government will promote Taiwan's Look-South policy, which aims to loosen restrictions regarding working in ASEAN countries and provide more information about the nations.
Philippines economy turning the corner
While more young Taiwanese intend to work overseas, the Philippines, which has struggled with economic development for decades, has been able to keep more young people from leaving the country in recent years.
The Wall Street Journal reports that since the 1970s, the Philippines has been plagued by an unstable political environment, high unemployment, a stagnant economy and low minimum wages. This has forced people to work in other countries and lead to a serious brain drain.
In 2005, about five million Filipinos immigrated, and the number rose to 10.4 million in 2011.
Taiwan has always been one of the most popular destinations for these people because of better living qualities.
Yet in the last five years, the economy of the Philippines has been turning the corner, with the average economic growth rate over the last five years reaching 6.2%, which is only second to China. The improvement has reduced the number of people leaving the country and increased domestic jobs.
More young Filipinos are willing to work at home even though some of the reduced outgoing population should be attributed to the decreasing demand of foreign labor from other countries.
One of the major goals of out-going Filipino President Benigno Aquino III has been to draw Filipino emigrants and migrant workers to return to the country.
Since Aquino III took office in 2010, many Filipinos abroad have considered going back to the Philippines to build startups or serve as managers in local companies, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some economic experts say that Aquino III has stabilized the political environment and fought corruption effectively in the last six years, which has added more than four million job opportunities.
They also say the rising middle class in Manila is making the Philippines more attractive for entrepreneurs.
Edited by Olivia Yang