Microgap adventures are being driven by the desire to gain greater career prospects while effectively managing finances and job opportunities. Generation Z are ditching the traditional travelling gap-year in favour of a more practical and useful short-term experience.
Movehub found that 88% of people think that it’s beneficial to have lived abroad with 58% saying it encourages you to learn new skills. Spotahome, a provider of mid- to long-term accommodation in European cities, is helping people make the decision on where to move, and according to a survey of the tech-startup’s 280 employees*, life experiences (82%) and job prospects (57%) topped the scale for reasons to move abroad. While learning a new language (92%) was the most poignant skill learnt living abroad, both career and social skills followed closely – agreed by (82%) 4 out of 5 and (78%) 3 out of 4 respondents respectively.
Sixty-four per cent (64%) of adults aged 16 – 34 surveyed by VisitBritain found the idea of ‘microgapping’ appealing. MicroGap was termed by VisitEngland as “the habit of taking short breaks that encapsulates the developmental and experiential opportunities offered on a traditional gap year.” Yet, the research discovered three quarters of millennials said that financial constraints or lack of savings would prevent or discourage them from taking a career break to go travelling within the next three years, with 41% citing impact on job progression as a reason for not taking leave abroad.
British staff that work at the Madrid-based property tech firm said that the benefits of living abroad were “fitting in to a new culture”, “self-sufficiency and resourcefulness”, “being open-minded”, “pushing yourself out of your comfort zone”, “thinking outside the box and thinking on your feet”, all skills they say are key to the modern workplace.
When Spotahome staff were asked the most difficult aspect of moving to a new country, administrative issues was cited as the number one issue, followed closely by finding somewhere to live, while language and fitting in with the culture came bottom of the list.
Spotahome found that its average mid-term tenant is 26 years old, with over 79% being under 30, renting in another city for an average of 4.5 months, or 136 nights to be exact. To help Microgappers – Spotahome researched the best urban cities* that offer quality of life, an enhanced technology infrastructure and career opportunities.
Harvey (27), who moved to Madrid (7th in the Best Urban Cities list) for a trial period in 2017 ended up extending his stay.
He had a burgeoning career in real estate before taking the leap:
“I decided I hated my job, I was in Bournemouth, so I started to look in Southampton and London, but then I thought – why stop there – so I was applying for jobs in Singapore, The Netherlands, Canada, USA. Eventually I was offered a job in Spain. I considered this a life experiment with always the option to move back home. Within three months I had created a life for myself here.”
Spotahome SEO Content Specialist, Emily (26) said
“You have to do a few brave things in your 20s, and I think living abroad is one of them. Plus it’s not as scary as you think, and you can get a flight home if you want. And even if it doesn’t work out you can just pretend to friends it was a holiday.”
Nathan (29), a product manager living in Barcelona, has spent time in Berlin and Seattle,
“You get to work in a different culture and as a result your ideas become more diverse. Living in different cities allows you to go and work in other places without the fear factor, and when you go back to London it understandably helps job prospects.”
“Microgapping is a great way to dip your toe in to test the waters, and now you can arrange your longer-term accommodation in a more affordable way and even apply for jobs from the UK – negating the first key concerns,” commented Melissa Lyras, Brand and Communications Manager at Spotahome. “Plus with a huge number of startups always looking for employees, it’s a great way to gain valuable experience and really make an impact within an organisation.”
Spotahome recently announced plans to open an office in London, the proptech startup is currently expanding its team both in the UK and Spain. For more details, bit.ly/SpotaCareer