Why the post ‘Celtic Tiger Cubs’ choose to emigrate


Emigration statistics for 2013 showed that 243 people left Ireland every day. That is one person leaving Ireland every six minutes.

The figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office covered the 12-month period up until April 2013 and show that a total of 89,000 people left the country.

While much of this emigration was forced, with heartbreaking scenes playing out in airports around Ireland, there is a new wave of emigration amongst the ‘twenty something’ college graduates.

These graduates are the ones who grew up in a flourishing Celtic Tiger Ireland. A generation that thrived on the power of having no limitations. We were labeled the ‘Celtic Tiger cubs’ and this was an apt description; we were cubs of Ireland's sucuess and then the casulties in it's spectalular fall from grace.

As emigration levels reach record highs in Ireland, it's easy to forget that not all emigration if of the heart-wrenching variety we have become accustomed to hearing about.

The new wave of emigration is something I have come to call the Celtic Cubs' 'choice' to leave. Choice is a very important word to remember in this scenario. For many young adults in Ireland, the thoughts of escaping Ireland for a few years and going traveling is one of the most appealing aspects to final year in college.

It’s not about having to weigh morally on the responsibility of a mortgage, family commitments or huge personal debt from college fee’s. Unlike American counterparts at the same age, Irish students for most part escape huge debts in acquiring a top class education.

In Ireland, we are lucky to have such a high class third level education, one that turns out the finest graduates year after year. Granted that there are not enough jobs available at present to meet graduate needs at home, but many recent college graduates are taking the plunge to pack up their Irish lives for a year or two and emigrate by choice, not by force.

It’s not like it was thirty or forty years ago, when people had no choices. Past emigrants were not as lucky as us 'Celtic Tiger Cubs.' They settled on a life in America by force. For most recent graduates moving to the U.S, it’s about being cutting edge in their chosen sector and choosing to seek out sucess in corporate America. And we have to thank those Irish emigrants who left thirty odd years ago as they were the foundations to the Irish American lives we now lead.

For the typical Irish graduate moving to the U.S it's about getting experience from the good old American work system and experiencing corporate America. While many may argue that so many young people are being forced to emigrate to lands far away, we have to realize that there is also a large percentage of the young, educated Irish who have no problem in going exploring, seeing different parts of the world between the ages of 24 and 26. They are taking up leading roles in the financial, legal and publishing industries because they have the education, skills and work ethic expected of them in America.

Personally, as a strong advocate of life experience, I think every university student in Ireland should be open to the idea of going to work abroad for a few years. Depending on your sector, it can greatly enhance career prospects for the future.

Don't get me wrong. There is nothing bad about wanting to stay and work in Ireland if the job is there to suit your needs, but do you really want to look back in thirty years and regret never leaving the bubble and setting yourself a challange to work abroad? 

Prior to coming to New York I worked as an English teacher in Barcelona and a waiter in San Francisco. I experienced the American educational system through my studies in Boston as a communications major. It all led to one thing after college – I wanted to emigrate and pursue my journalism career in New York.

And I am not alone. Two young Irish men talked to me about their decisions to leave Ireland and experience corporate America. Like me, they feel it was their choice to leave and experience the New York side of life.

Nick Sainsbury is a 21-year-old Economics and Finance graduate from University College Dublin. He decided to emigrate for the experience of living in a vibrant city. He took the opportunity offered by the J1 graduate visa “to get some great experience under his belt having just graduated from UCD.”

A native of Dublin, he is now working in New York for The Vision Lab, a company founded in 2012 by fellow Irishman Trevor Madigan.

“My role is leading product management, but I am also involved in all aspects of the business.” Nick says he has been fortunate enough to meet and work with some interesting and successful individuals, both Irish and American.