What Myanmar Youth are doing in 2022

It’s a common saying that today's youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Every country recognizes the importance of having a younger generation. Let's take a look at the youth voice of Myanmar (sometimes referred to as Burma). About 28% of the overall population are young people, including adolescents (aged 10-19) and youngsters (aged 15 - 24). The term youngsters has no clearly defined age and is sometimes used for very young children. It would be best to keep with the term youth as that is generally accepted between 15 - 24 years as you’ve noted.

Threats to Myanmar Youth Employment in 2022

The county was struck by COVID-19 in 2020, resulting in business investment declining and some enterprises shutting or closing as a result of the virus. Following a predicted 18% decline in GDP in the year ended September 2021, the World Bank January 2022 Economic Monitor predicts that the economy will expand 1% in the year ending September 2022. One million jobs are lost, and many people's earnings fall as a result of shorter hours or pay.

Besides Covid-19 , Burma was hit by the 2021 February coup, which is a serious political issue against democratic transition. Three finger salute of young people who become world us lost an estimated 1.2 million jobs in the second quarter following February 2021. The job losses are greater when compared to the final quarter of 2019 with about 3.2 million, or 15% of all workers, no longer employed, according to ILO.

The Covid-19 and the Coup's consequences have divided youth jobs in 2022. But young people never give up hope of achieving their objectives. At present, the author interviewed youth voices and surveyed Burmese teenagers about their surviving efforts  .

International Students

International colleges provide the greatest chances for Myanmar’s younger generation to gain a higher education. Kids from wealthy families travel abroad alone and enroll in Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean, Thailand, or other international institutions. Young people study hard for the entrance test using an online curriculum and go abroad after passing it. The Institute of International Education Open Doors 2020 Report shows that there are 1,828 Burmese youth studying in the US. The favorite study destinations for these international learners include California 30%, New York 13% and Massachusetts 6%.

They attend the courses they prefer and work part-time to cover some costs of apartment renting and living expenses. Scholarships are available for those who want an education abroad. Scholarships such as those offered by Fulbright, Chevening and Australia Awards can be very lucrative with many opportunities for financial aid or simply traveling on scholarship!

Feeling of Burma international students

One of the young people said “Sometimes, being a student is like walking in the shower. It means it's raining. But, you can't see the raindrops clearly”. You know studying is important for any generation. But, you might not see what  your true passion is. Learning Process can help you to find the Learning Result. I´m not afraid to be confused, just let it be. Confusion means we are about to start with the brain in the digital age.”
Student life in Japan University

Studying in Japan

Student life in Japan University

Abroad Workers

Searching for a safer place with better opportunities. Many young people in the country are attempting to obtain jobs in foreign nations, with Asia and neighboring countries being the most popular choices. The recruiting agencies for employment overseas and passport departments are busy at the moment. 

According to the data of the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population, over 305,000 people went overseas for work in 2019. They went to Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Korea, Japan, UAE, Jordan, Qatar and Macao. 

Interviewing the abroad workers

One of the young people said “Although I miss my family, I choose this job for my society and career development. The challenges from this work make me stronger and successful. Please don't be afraid to take risks”.

Working as a seafarer

Rural Youths Working in Big Cities of Myanmar 

Although some firms have halted their operations due to the country's chaotic situation, others are continuing as normal. Some Myanmar's youth are still having good jobs and still have a lot of job opportunities. As a result, some young people from rural areas migrate to cities like Yangon and Mandalay and stay at hostels or flats. They go to work by bus or taxi from large city hostels. But the hostel owners said that the number of working people from rural areas have decreased since the COVID- 19 period.

“Working in another city gives me new experience. So, I want young people to improve their lives with new challenges”.

Company employees from Yangon

Becoming Small Business owners 

Many young people are attempting to make ends meet by leveraging their existing abilities in the current economic downturn. Youngsters seek out ways to start and manage a business as they look for opportunities to prosper. They begin by learning skills via the internet, then open shops such as a food shop, cosmetics store, clothing store, and so on.

Although some are running traditional brick businesses with physical locations, most of the young people do their online SMEs, for example, online fashion shops, handmade shops, and online business services. A business owner at a small retail shop faces many challenges to run business more systematically as a good organization. As our retail business is located at Township Level, our main customers are farmers who have low income. 

Voice of the youth who run the small business

Most of them can't afford high quality products as they have low income from agriculture.  Although they want to use good quality products, they finally choose low cost products with low quality.

Low quality products have many problems and they encounter poor living standards. The country needs detailed plans to qualify the agricultural products of Myanmar globally and must create opportunities to sell these products with standardized quality in the International Market.

If the farmers have high income by selling  agricultural products at the International Market, our retail business will be more modernized at theTownship level. Most of our customers will use high quality products at a high price.

Now, we all are facing difficulty to get more freedom and living standards that practice in developed countries. We can't hire many employees and we all work from 6:30am to 5:00 pm to get the average salary of $100 monthly.

The root cause is many farmers in Myanmar have low income from agricultural products. The more they have low income, the more our small retail business struggles to be a good structural organization.

Phone accessories Shop 

Assisting Parents

Many youngsters have not returned to their previous employment in the big cities. They prefer to reside at their parent's homes, which are located in rural towns or villages. They're assisting their parents, who run local enterprises. As a result of this, the work of the parents is extended and we may consider it a success in certain regions. e.g Branch shops.  But on the other hand, the Myanmar People face the problems of high prices and low income.

In this way, the Myanmar families gather unexpectedly and worry about further preparation. I mean they have the opportunity to stay with family together but they don't get much money like the others who are working abroad or in big cities.

The youth said ‘ I have to start my life again in my hometown. Managing the business is absolutely new for me. Most of the women like me, they are assisting their parents. But I am happy because of my family support’.

Local grocery shop

Free spirits

The majority of the time, these characters appear in rural regions of Myanmar. Our culture differs significantly from that of other countries. However, it may be harmful to a youngster's growth at times. It has the potential for young people to lead to becoming a free spirit as one of its major causes. Young people probably use their time at the tea shop, the gambling area, the beer shop, etc. This is not a good way not only for their lives but also for the country's future.

One of them said “Currently, we have no job but in the coming days we hope. We wish for a golden opportunity for the next generation within our society”. 

Gaming place in the rural areas


Young people, in a nutshell, are the future of every nation and their position is critical in developing the nation's progress. Everyone should focus on raising awareness about young people's significance in Myanmar by giving free online  classes, buying their products, or helping their future plans. It is up to us all to help empower and encourage youngsters in Myanmar to collaborate on the economic development project.

October 6, 2022