- Moe Htet Kyi Phyu
Escaping Myanmar by working abroad? Remote working may be a way back in!
Lately, most educated Myanmar youth have been leaving the country in search for better livelihoods against the backdrop of the seemingly dim prospects back home. With many large international organisations and corporations opting to put projects on pause or pull out of the country altogether, job and career prospects locally have not been the best of late. Working abroad may seem to be the best way to start life anew in a new country, or so I thought…
Two months ago, I started working with Crossworks as a Marketing Executive, but trust me, this isn’t just marketing speak! Over 45 remote hires have been placed with more than 20 overseas companies, accessing opportunities to work in an international environment without needing to leave the country. The pandemic had set a precedent for many employers and employees to be comfortable with working remotely, and gone are the days where work meant a 9-5 job in a physical office space.
Hybrid, distributed, and fully remote companies are rapidly increasing in number globally, and I’ve been able to witness firsthand why. Remote hiring not only enables employers to effectively expand their worldwide workforce, but also allows job seekers like myself to get an overseas job without really moving there. According to one report by JobStreet, the openness to remote work is on the rise at 57% all over the world.
Felix, a Web Developer whom I met briefly when I was still in Yangon, first joined Skills Union in February 2022 as a WordPress developer and was later promoted to a technical lead managing a team of 3 other engineers. Owing to some restructuring, he made a switch to work with another company with the help of Crossworks. “Getting job experience from foreign companies has been one of my dreams. As for going abroad, I wish to do that, but a remote job is the first step to work with foreigners without having culture shock. This has become my full-time job working with foreigners for the first time, and I am very excited,” Felix said.
Myanmar's rapid inflation is pushing up prices for rice and other daily necessities while there’s little to no wage growth at local companies. The vast majority of remote jobs from foreign companies come along with salaries pegged to foreign currencies, which is a huge plus for me. Felix also said, “Due to money inflation, our local currency is getting devalued a lot compared to the other foreign countries. Consequently, my local income actual value has lessened and not matched my work experience. So, I decided to work a remote job at a foreign company rather than the local one.”
Yet another benefit of remote work has been being able to stay together with family and friends. Having moved around for school and work over the last couple of years, I was finally able to return to Mandalay earlier last month to a familiar environment. One of the youngest Crossworker’s, who has been with the company since 2019 adds that “I don’t have to leave my friends and family. I can just stay close to them, working from home while getting foreign job experience.” He also added that he appreciates the flexible working hours that his company practices. While this is not the same with every employer and job role, being able to work whenever I want, as long as tasks are completed and deadlines are met sure sounds like something I’d appreciate
As someone who has lived abroad, I can also save a ton of money on living expenses. A higher income would typically come with spending 30-50% of my salary on accommodation rentals and commuting while food, entertainment, and other expenses will also mean that I have less to save (of course this varies depending on one’s choice of living standards and specific job roles). Felix agrees, also sharing that “We can save commuting costs and save hours of commuting to the office every day. That is what I like most about working remotely. As for a kind of introvert like me, remote work is like working in heaven.” Working from home eliminates factors like dressing up for work, oversleeping, being stuck in traffic, etc. Being able to roll out of bed, get on the laptop, and start working right away is a huge time saver
Now, if you would like to escape Myanmar without really leaving, or consider returning to work remotely for a foreign company, look no further- Crossworks might just be your solution! Follow us on LinkedIn and look out for open positions at https://www.crossworks.info/vacancy!