Hopping to It
The notion of work remains in flux, perhaps now more than ever. Globalisation, generational change and innovations in technology mean that workers can no longer expect to stay in the same job, or industry for that matter, with the same company until they retire.
GenXers and Millennials change jobs a lot more than their parents did and have given rise to the term jobhoppers.
“Young people nowadays tend to jump between jobs too often,” says one young Vietnamese respondent working in hospitality. Indeed, these days it’s likely the average person will change jobs 15 to 20 times during their careers.
This is reflected in our survey which reveals that 32% of respondents have had four or more jobs over the last five years. While just 7% of those represent Vietnamese respondents, they are still more likely than foreign residents in Vietnam to have changed jobs four or more times over the past five years.
This seems to fit the anecdotes about young Vietnamese of today who are highly mobile, connected online, increasingly better educated, and on the look-out for better-paying jobs and conditions.
The profile of these jobhoppers is that they are evenly split between the sexes, with females just slightly more likely to have changed jobs more often than males.
Jobhoppers are more likely to be in a relationship (56%) without children (85%), live in Hanoi (56%), and be between the ages of 20 and 29 years old (48%).
Among foreign resident jobhoppers, they are more likely to be new to Vietnam, having lived here for one year or less (37%), although quite a few foreign residents living here for more than 10 years (17%) have had four or more jobs in the past five years.
As for those who have had just one or two jobs in the past five years (47%) — the stayers — they are more likely to be male, in a relationship with no children, aged 30 to 49, based in Saigon and have been living in Vietnam for more than 10 years.
Emptying the Nest
A recent article in The Australian newspaper by demographer Bernard Salt refers to what he calls the KIPPER generation (Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) in Australia which represents 25% of Australian 18 to 35-year-olds living with their parents.
The article reports that the group continues to grow and maintains the same proportion as those still living at home back in 2006, indicating that the KIPPER generation is there to stay for a while yet.
It also revealed that Vietnamese- Australians top the list of 20 to 29-year- old Australians living with their parents, closely followed by Filipino-Australians and then Chinese-Australians.
Here in Vietnam, perhaps change is moving the opposite way.
One of our young female Vietnamese respondents commented: “They should be independent from their parents so they can gain essential skills to start their own family.”
This sentiment is somewhat reflected in the responses, where 73% of Vietnamese respondents indicated that they either disagreed or strongly disagreed that children should live with their parents until they are married.
This is higher than the overall response of 71% and perhaps indicates the changing values of Vietnamese families today, particularly as the necessity to migrate to the big cities for work increases.
“Although as Asians it is our practice [to live at home until married],” says a female Filipino respondent living in Saigon, “children should learn to be independent.”
Still, 8% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that children should live with their parents until they are married, including respondents from Western Europe, Oceania and Asia, with the overwhelming majority of those being male.
Heads in the Cloud
Perhaps the surprise of our survey was that the majority of respondents (62%) spend just one to three hours online each day outside of work, of which 13% are Vietnamese. While 27% of respondents indicated that they spend four to six hours online per day outside of work.
Interestingly, a very small number (1%) indicated that they never spend time online outside of work, while 11% indicated that they spend seven or more hours per day online.
Who are these people?
Typically they are foreign females in a relationship without children who live in Saigon and are between the ages of 20 and 29. They spend most of their time on social media and say that the top five priorities in their life are family, friends, work, money and holidays.
Not to be outdone, 3% of respondents who report spending seven or more hours online are between 40 and 60 years of age, male, European and living in Saigon.
As one of our respondents, a young British male living in Hanoi, says, “The fact that ‘more than 10 [hours]’ is an option, is terrifying.”
Love is a Battlefield
We asked respondents if they thought same-sex marriage should be legally recognised in Vietnam. While its banning was officially abolished in 2015, same-sex unions aren’t legally recognised here.
“Don’t understand why this is still an issue in the world,” comments a middle-aged British male living in Saigon.
Respondents overwhelmingly agreed or strongly agreed (75%) that same-sex marriage should be legally recognised in Vietnam, however, other responses (20%) indicate that perhaps there is still a sizable part of the community who are ambivalent towards its legalisation indicating that they don’t care.
One 30-something male Italian respondent living in Hanoi felt the urge to comment: “I think clean water should be a topic, more than gay marriage.”
Among the small percentage of respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed (5%), three-quarters of them have lived in Vietnam for more than 10 years.
“It would be a long way [off] as the Vietnamese are still not open about these topics,” says one young Vietnamese female respondent living in Hoi An.
If only she knew that 86% of the respondents who disagreed with legally recognising same-sex marriage in Vietnam were Western.
1) How many jobs have you had in the past five years?
2) Should children live with their parents until they are married?
3) Should same-sex marriage be legally recognised in Vietnam?
4) How many hours per day do you spend online (not including work hours)?
5) Rank in order from 1 to 10 the priorities in your life.
— 14% of our respondents said that in their free time they check their mobile phone more than 10 times an hour
— However, three fifths said they check their phones between two and five times an hour
— Outside of work, three in five people spend between one and three hours online every day
— One tenth said that they spend more than seven hours online every day outside of work
— 70% of respondents feel that children should not live with their parents until they’re married
Photo by Bao Zoan
To read the other articles in this series, please click on the following links: