The 'Go East' Movement

Reuters recently posted this article on “reverse migration,” which says that Asian professionals in the U.S. are starting to “Go East” in order to seek better job opportunities.  As I watch most of my international friends in New York move back to Asia to seek better jobs, I can't help but wonder, since when did Asia become more of a hot spot than New York City? Even just a few years ago, the idea of having to return to your homeland carried a negative connotation, as it implied that you basically couldn't make it here in the U.S., the glorified "land of opportunities."  But these days, being a "returnee" is not only ideal but it even exceeds the value of expatriates - that means you, Asian Americans.  For those of us born in the U.S. who think we're at the top of the game since English is our first language - think again, because it's not us they want.  According to Ames Gross, president of Pacific Bridge, a U.S.- based recruitment firm matching candidates to Asian-based firms, "We're constantly replacing expats with Asian returnees..." It seems these "returnees" who many of us once called "F.O.B.'s" are the recruiter's target in Asia.

According to Irvin Seah, an economist at Singapore’s DBS, “These returnees would serve as a bridge between Asian and the rest of the economies … With the exposure they had in Western economics and their local knowledge, they will be able to fill the human capital gap in Asia and significantly contribute to Asia’s growth.”

As if it wasn’t enough to excel in our communities, schools and industries, now it’s necessary for us to be international superstars – fully equipped in all areas of economics, languages and cultures of both the West and East. Great. It makes me regret not taking my Mandarin classes seriously during college. So for all of you international students in the U.S., this should be positive news since you’re the golden candidate for employment in Asia. For Asian Americans, it’s time to step up our game if we want to compete with these in-demand F.O.B.'s.  But of course, that is if you want to work in Asia.  And as we hear, Asia will be the place to be.  Will you be drawn into the "Go East" movement?