Monday 20 August 2018

'Ireland is so limiting, I wanted to get on the career ladder' - Meet the millennials who have left Ireland for better job prospects

Rebekah Smyth
Rebekah Smyth
Cristina Duffy
Alan Flanagan
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

Millennials in their hundreds have left Ireland to pursue better job opportunities, cheaper rent prices and an overall better quality of life.

The term 'millennial' defines people who were born between 1982 and 2004.

To name a few, millennials have been blamed for spending their housing funds on avocados, ruining face-to-face interaction and for single-handedly causing the demise of bars of soap.

A new study from the Global Shapers showed that more than 80pc of young people globally would move overseas to advance their careers. spoke to three Irish millennials on why they left Ireland and how their careers took off.

'I asked for a contract... they looked at me and laughed'

Cristina Duffy (30) from Co Dublin moved to London shortly after graduating from DCU with a degree in journalism in 2009.

Cristina Duffy

"2010 was the year of death for Irish jobs.

"After graduating, I was working for a radio station in Dublin and my hours were different every week. I was working two days one week and five days another week. It was really unstable.

"I was drifting around working freelance and in Brown Thomas."

Cristina said that after working freelance for a year, she approached her employer and asked for a contract.

"They looked at me and almost laughed. They said they had no contracts to give anyone and so I left. I wasn't hanging around Ireland to work freelance with no job security."

In 2010, Cristina moved to London and has been there ever since.

She now works for Pearl and Dean, a cinema advertising company.

"I wanted to come to London and get on the career path. I got job security much quicker than I ever would have in Ireland.

"London has so many more opportunities."

Christina said that if she had stayed in Ireland she would have ended up living at home with her parents for at least three more years.

"I wouldn't have been able to afford rent so I would have been living at home until I found a decent job. I was able to grow up more and live my own life in London."

The film specialist said she would like to move home to Ireland as it is a nice place for family.

"I'll move home some day because there's an Irish thing in us all to want to own our own property. I'd never be able to do that. Hopefully after working for seven years in London, I'll be able to get a mortgage when I return home to Dublin."

'There isn't a lot of money put towards creativity in Ireland'

Alan Flanagan (31) from Co, Longford moved to Toronto, Canada in 2010.

Alan Flanagan

Alan is a writer, lecturer and teacher.

"I think it's a very Irish thing to want to get away from Ireland when you're in your 20s.

"I had a nice job during the recession but I wanted to do something more creative and Ireland didn't have that many opportunities."

After two years working in Toronto, Alan left for London.

"I wanted to move closer to home but I wasn't interested in Ireland. I'm a writer and Ireland doesn't have that much of a creative industry.

"There's only a limited amount of jobs in Ireland and it can be hard to get your foot in the door. A lot of creative people have left Ireland at some point. I certainly wouldn't have the same opportunities in Ireland as I have over here in London."

Alan said that he wants to write science fiction and horror novels and that the market in Ireland is too small.

"Irish people are more conservative and there isn't a lot of money that goes towards creativity. RTE has small budgets and doesn't think outside the box, which is understandable due to their budget.

"I want to do more weird, creative things and Ireland isn't the place to do it."

He added that Ireland's prices have soared in recent years in terms of rent and socialising.

"Previously people might have wanted to move home to Ireland to get a house and settle down, but at times Dublin is more expensive that London.

"Attractions such as cheap rent is gone. Prices for everything in Dublin has gone nuts. Even the price of a pint has increased."

Alan said that anybody who wants to leave Ireland should as it's an "unbelievable experience".

"People always ask what's wrong with Ireland? But Irish people have always left Ireland for as long as we can remember. Irish people want to see the world and live in other communities. Ireland will always be there at the end of the day."

'There would have to be a good job to lure me home'

Rebekah Smyth (32) from Galway left Ireland in 2010 for Toronto.

Rebekah Smyth

"After graduating, I decided to head off to Canada because there was nothing happening here in Ireland.

"I moved to Toronto and at first it was quite hard to get a job. I spent two months knocking on doors and trying to get something."

Rebekah found a job at CBC, a news broadcaster in Canada.

"I ended up staying in Canada for three years because I loved my job. They had a huge budget and put so much time and resources into projects."

After three years, Rebekah began to get homesick and moved home to Ireland.

"I think I lasted in Dublin for about two weeks before I thought I had to get out of here again. I applied for a few jobs and got one working with NBC in London so I took it and moved again."

Two years ago, Rebekah started working for a data company in the UK called Data Miner.

The tech company partners with Twitter and finds breaking news and then alerts their clients such as governments and journalists.

"There's definitely not the same opportunities in Ireland as there are in London. In TV, you're limited to working with TV3 or RTE. There is very little job security.

"In London there are so many more job opportunities."

Rebekah said she would return home to Ireland, but only if the right job came up.

"There would have to be a good job to lure me home. If I moved home at the moment I feel like it would be taking a step back. I'd have to lower my expectations and take a lesser role and sense of security if I went home to Ireland."

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