The term “Nam tiến" – which means “moving to the South" – was coined for celebrities moving to Ho Chi Minh City to find a “bigger stage” for their careers. The likes of My Tam, Dam Vinh Hung, Van Mai Huong, Bich Phuong, and many other rising artists believe that the southern city can provide better opportunities, bigger audiences, and brighter spotlights for them. And in more ways than one, this is true. Those who’ve moved to HCMC have risen to stardom. To the point, it is rare to see any artists in the creative industry that still live in Hanoi.
But in recent years, the trend has been seen among fresh graduates from the North. Young people are considering leaving their homes in search of jobs that offer better pay and more room for growth. If you go to LinkedIn and search for jobs in Vietnam, most job vacancies actually come from HCMC.
A new life in a new city
Bui Thu Uyen and Ninh Viet Hoang are two Gen Zs who have moved to HCMC for work. While Thu Uyen works in data analysis, Viet Hoang works in logistics and supply chain management. Both admitted they decided to move to HCMC because the “ideal” careers related to their educational backgrounds can only be found in the southern city.
“Many corporations have their headquarters located in HCMC. And often, managers hold important data of the company so they are mostly based here. As someone who works in data analysis, I have received many good offers in Hanoi but not as good as here,” said Uyen.
When Hoang's parents knew of his plan to move to HCMC, they were very supportive to see their child pursuing his own career path. “At first, they were worried but slowly got used to the fact that I am away. I constantly call them so I think now they are less worried about my absence and more proud of me.”
Contrary to Hoang, Uyen's story is a little bit different. At first, her parents were very critical of her choice. They said to her that life in HCMC could be dangerous and she couldn't last more than two days in a city she barely knew. However, as time went by, Uyen proved herself to her parents by living well and adapting to the environment.
Moving to a new place is never easy, especially when it's your first time. When Hoang first moved to HCMC, this city had just begun its lockdown period, affecting his work and social life. The pressure of being a newcomer lies in learning all the ropes of the job and socializing with co-workers online, without any face-to-face interactions.
For Uyen, this opportunity has allowed her to be more independent. However, leaving your parents for the first time comes with many difficulties, from doing housework on your own, managing personal finance to new relationships. Initially, she felt lonely as her closest friends are in Hanoi, and there was no mom or dad beside her. She came to a realization: “I think sometimes we take our parents for granted".
Where opportunities abound
In terms of working environments, Hoang pointed out what makes Ho Chi Minh City different from Hanoi: all-day hustling and openmindedness. The majority of people coming to HCMC are to seek jobs so everyone seems to be all about work and always hustling. In Hoang's opinion, the environment here is younger than Hanoi and full of foreigners. Thus, employees have a more open mindset and wider perspectives when giving their viewpoints.
After a few months of staying in HCMC, Uyen thinks that many people are considering working in HCMC because there are more opportunities here, people want to experience new things, earn valuable skills, and have more freedom.
Nguyen The Anh, currently a third-year student at Academy of Journalism and Communication, is also planning to go into HCMC to look for jobs after graduation. In his final year, he hopes to hone his skills in communication and get more experience to be more sure of his decision. He has encountered seniors who have come to the South and then returned to Hanoi. For many of them, their intention was to challenge themselves to see whether they can fit right into the way of life in HCMC.
“Saigon is always bustling and full of life. It is no surprise that this city attracts many young people. Gen Z is an energetic and passionate generation, which fits perfectly to the energy of HCMC", The Anh said.