Taipei, Sept. 19 (CNA) Most young Taiwanese on working holidays overseas earn more on average than their peers from other countries and save more money, according to a survey released Wednesday.
On average, Taiwanese working holidaymakers abroad earn NT$360,000 (US$12,273.8) a year, while those from other countries average NT$320,000 annually, the poll by Kang Wen Cultural and Education Foundation found.
Taiwanese save NT$130,000 on average, more than one third of their average income, at the end of their working holidays, the survey showed.
In comparison, other working holidaymakers in Australia did not save any money but rather spent the equivalent of NT$400,000, according to the foundation.
Most of the Taiwanese respondents said they had joined the working holiday program mainly to broaden their horizons. The other top reasons given were to improve their language ability, become more independent and satisfy their curiosity about the world.
The goal of making money, which is often believed to be the main reason why Taiwanese go on working holidays, was 24th on the list of 25 choices on the questionnaire.
In fact, only 5 percent of Taiwanese have been able to make more than NT$1 million from working holiday programs, the poll found.
The average age of Taiwanese working holidaymakers is 26.3, two years older than those from other countries, according to the poll.
It also found that only 30 percent of Taiwanese working holidaymakers are men, compared with over 50 percent from other countries.
Most of the Taiwanese respondents said they had become more adaptable, more open-minded and appreciative of other cultures.
The survey was conducted Aug. 29-Sept. 9 among young Taiwanese who have worked for more than six months in the last three years in one or more of the seven countries that have working holiday agreements with Taiwan. The poll had 226 valid samples.
The working holiday program came under the spotlight in Taiwan after Business Today magazine published an article about an economics graduate from National Tsing Hua University who was working in a slaughterhouse in Australia under the program.
In response to the story, some people warned that Taiwan is becoming a labor exporting country as an increasing number of young people are leaving under the working holiday program to work as laborers in countries such as Australia where wages are higher.
(By Hsu Chih-wei and Kendra Lin)