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UPDATED 22 July: The challenge of moving cities for your first job

In an labour market where population and available jobs don't necessarily match, it is becoming increasingly necessary for young people to move to get onto the career ladder. How might we empower individuals to face these challenges?

Photo of Jes Simson

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A few years ago, NPR's 'Planet Money' did a great story on the difficulties employees face when working in countries (and cultures) that aren't their own (Listen:  Why Don't More Unemployed Spaniards Get Jobs In Germany?)  

The story asked a simple question about why there is such high unemployment in Spain, despite the fact that companies in Germany were unable to hire enough people.  In doing so, they discovered the barriers that workers face. These included language barriers (most Spaniards learn English as a second language, rather than German), cultural barriers (work, social etc) and even the difference in food. 

After moving 3,500kms from my home town to Perth, Australia, to start my first graduate job I also found it difficult to settle in.  While I stayed in the same country, the culture was incredibly different and I was a long way from my friends and family.  Perth (one of the hubs of Australia's mining boom) attracts a lot of people looking to start or enhance their careers and this difficulty is quite wide spread.  

In an labour market where population and available jobs don't necessarily match, it is becoming increasingly necessary for young people to move to get onto the career ladder. 

How might we empower individuals to face these challenges so that uprooting your life to start a career becomes more appealing? 

Some thoughts: 


  • How might we support individuals who are moving cities, countries or continents to start their careers?  What tools should we arm employees with?  How can employers help?

  • How might we inform people about jobs in other cities?

  • It's quite common for people to move cities and states in the USA and UK for University and first jobs.  This is not as common in Australia.  What lessons can we learn from these examples?

  • What other cultural barriers do new employees face when starting out in the workforce? What soft skills do we need to arm new employees with?  

UPDATED questions from the great comment section raging below:

  • How might we help youth to discover jobs and career pathways which allow them to take up global employment opportunities yet work from where they choose to live? (Meena)
  • How might we encourage employers to consider leaner employment models which don't require people to relocate?" As Meena pointed out, it is possible to work for a great company from the other side of the world. What other solutions are out there? (Meena)
  • How might we enable people in one place (say a developing country) to meet skills shortages in another country (like a developed country) without requiring the workforce to actually move countries. How might we upskill individuals to meet these skills needs?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shane Zhao

Hi Jes, I featured your contribution in my recent blog post. Check it out here:

I'm loving the collaborative exchanges that are taking place here! Looking forward to where the ideas brewing here might go in the next phase!

Photo of Jes Simson

Thanks for the share Shane!

Great blog post. I really enjoyed discovering what has inspired Leigh, Daniel and Tim during the Research phase.

I can't wait for the ideas to start rolling in.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Yes likewise, looking forward to where you might take these discoveries next!

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