For some years now, people all over the world have started to talk about numerous opportunities Southeast Asian region has to offer. Countries such as Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia are known for their fast-growing economies and global trade. Needless to say, that region’s stable growth is attracting more investment. The beauty in this is that emerging markets come hand in hand with job opportunities, especially for those qualified professionals we are used to seeing in Europe and Americas. In addition to previously mentioned motivators, it is presumed that professional growth, as well as pay, would advance at a faster pace than in Western countries.
What can I do?
They are way too many to list them all, but I would like to provide you with the insight of some of the most common career prospects for expat workers in Southeast Asia. As an English speaker you could consider one of the following positions:
- Teacher (This is the most common job for foreigners living in Southeast Asia. The variations are extensive and range from language teachers to high academic positions. This career path is one of the most rewarding and challenging but it also comes with a regular paycheck.)
- Journalist (If you share a passion for journalism and are eager to learn more about regional affairs as well as culture, this is the perfect opportunity for you! Both, national and global media outlets are always looking for a fresh set of writing and opinions.)
- Hotel and resort management (We all know that international hospitality brands are present all over the world. For quite some time now big Hotel chains place their strategic priorities in expansion in Asian regions, therefore guaranteeing tons of job opportunities for industry specialists. Even if you do not wish to work for a chain company, Southeast Asia is filled with boutique hotels and resorts. Find your passion and live up to your dreams.)
- Freelance writing (For creative minds this might be the most appealing one of all. Whatever your expertise might be, you can work as you explore. Whether you wish to take in the breathtaking and diverse nature, or prefer a big city buzz in Bangkok or Jakarta, as long as you finish your posts there is nothing holding you back.
Where should I go?
Another aspect of great importance is finding the right place for you and your ambitions. Since Southeast Asia includes many different countries with diverse cultural background and religious movements, it is essential to find a place that suits your preference. In this article, I would like to mention and briefly introduce some of the most popular destinations for expat workers.
As many other big cities in Southeast Asia, the capital of Malaysia is loaded with different cultures and people from diverse nationalities. In contrast to other urban cities, Kuala Lumpur has a good deal of green areas where its inhabitants can escape the rush and noise of ever live “city jungle”. Even though Kuala Lumpur is considered a business hub with many skyscrapers and modern infrastructure, the average rent here is way below prices you would see for example, in Singapore.
If you wish to experience ultimate luxury and economic freedom, Singapore is the place to go. This is one of the most expensive places to live in the whole world, but as they say, you get what you pay for. In contrast to other metropolitan cities in Southeast Asia, Singapore is said to be one of the cleanest cities you can find. It has been credited to be perfect for families due to an immense number of international schools and educational establishments. As you might guess, expats love this place, therefore you will be able to meet people from all over the world who are proud to call Singapore their home.
If you consider yourself more nature-oriented and prefer beaches and palm trees over busy city streets, Bali island in Indonesia must be taken into consideration. When hearing about Bali, most people associate it with vacation destination, but that is not nearly all it is. Balinese culture and people are very hospitable and friendly therefore giving you a special feeling of belongingness. It might not be the best place for people pursuing careers in the corporate sector, but if you are focused on hospitality industry or have the opportunity to work from distance, keep this place in mind.
The capital city of Thailand is known for its outstanding street food, traffic, and joyful inhabitants. Luckily for me, this is a place I am calling home for the time being. From my own experience I can say, here you will never feel bored. The city of Bangkok also known as the “big mango” never sleeps. It is one of those places that is brimming with diverse eateries and bars. Even though the traffic might be exhausting at times, it is a perfect place for culinary adventure. Street food stands have taken over the sidewalks and can be found in every neighborhood in case you are craving some oriental and inexpensive dinner solution. For those seeking fine dining experience, Bangkok is hosting many fine establishments, including one of the most recognizable restaurants in Asia, “Gaggan”.
Do not take me wrong there are much more of Bangkok than just food and entertainment. For one it is one of the biggest start-up hubs in Southeast Asia. Technological advancements contribute to the fast development of the business environment here, as well as, gives many opportunities to get inspired. Because of the great number of international professionals living here, it is one of the best cities to network, and visit events.
I’ll be back.
As we are closing in on the first article aiming to present career opportunities in Southeast Asia, I would like to conclude with a quick summary. For some years now Southeast Asia has become more popular in the eyes of an international workforce. Many professionals have chosen to transform their lives and embark on this journey. Of course, there are reasons for that.. In short, we all seek to fulfill our purpose in life as well as explore as much as possible. Most of the career prospects in Southeast Asia are highly rewarding for both, spiritual and financial matters. If you wish to challenge yourself and your ambitions, pick a place, pack your bags and start moving.
In the next article, I would like to focus and reflect on some experiences shared by fellow expats. Topics such as job culture, international relations, cultural considerations and education in Southeast Asia will be discussed.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this article and discuss these topics. All suggestions and improvement points are welcomed and appreciated!