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Australia Is Number One Work Destination; London Tops List for Cities

Off-Beat Voyage

Australia Is Number One Work Destination; London Tops List for Cities


Despite global challenges such as geopolitical tensions, widespread economic concerns, and emerging virtual mobility trends from the past several years, moving abroad for work remains a dream for many workers around the world, with 23% of professionals actively seeking jobs in other countries, and 63% expressing an overall willingness to do so. Younger people and people from countries with fast-growing populations are the most mobile. English-speaking geographies with strong economies lead the list of top destinations, with Australia, the US, Canada, and the UK being the four most desirable countries, and London topping the list of cities, with New York also placing in the top five.

These are among the findings of a new report published today by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, and The Stepstone Group. Titled Decoding Global Talent 2024, the study is based on survey data from more than 150,000 workforce respondents from 188 countries, and is the fourth installment in a series, the previous editions having been published in 2014, 2018, and 2021.

Natives of regions with a labor surplus (owing to higher birth rates) tend to be more mobile than those who live in areas where the labor force is shrinking. For instance, 64% of workers in the Middle East and Africa are actively willing to relocate, and more than half of respondents in South Asia (58%) and sub-Saharan Africa (52%) are actively willing to do so. At the other end of the spectrum, much smaller percentages are seen in North America (16%) and Europe (10%).

“The world’s most important economies are facing a major challenge: the great people shortage. This looming gap in the global labor market is primarily due to declining birth rates and mismatches between job supply and demand,” said The Stepstone Group CEO Sebastian Dettmers. “Labor migration represents a prime opportunity to bridge this gap. We must adapt our job markets to be more versatile, enabling workers to move to where they are most needed and where they can find the best positions for their skills and aspirations.”

The survey results reveal that global talent moves abroad primarily for professional progress, with those willing to do so citing financial and economic reasons (64% of respondents) and career considerations such as work experience (56%) as their top reasons for doing so. For respondents who listed a specific reason for choosing a particular country, the quality of job opportunities was the top decisive factor (65%), with quality of life and climate ranking second (54%). Other country-specific characteristics such as opportunities for citizenship (18%) and health care (15%) also play a role but are secondary factors.

Neetu Chitkara Managing Director & Partner, India Lead People and Organization Practice at The Boston Consulting Group said In recent years, India has emerged as a beacon for professionals seeking dynamic career opportunities, both domestically and globally. This surge in popularity is underscored by its increasing rank on the global index of preferred working destinations, having gained six rank points in the last five years. Bangalore and Delhi continue to be prominent hubs for career opportunities within India, though their standings on the global stage have experienced a modest decline. A striking development is that Ahmedabad has entered the top 100 global cities for the first time since the report was first launched in 2018, signaling a budding recognition of its potential as a thriving work environment. This rise in India’s appeal and the success of upcoming work destinations like Ahmedabad present exciting opportunities for the nation’s future. By fostering a dynamic and attractive work environment, India can continue to attract top talent, not only locally but also globally, solidifying its position as a global business hub. On the other hand, while many Indians continue to seek global work opportunities, there is a marked dip in the percentage of respondents who demonstrated active willingness to work abroad, down from 78% in 2018 and 2020 to 54% in 2023. Another interesting observation was that among the Indian respondents who were unwilling to relocate to a different country for work, a staggering 59% cited a strong emotional attachment to their country, which is well ahead of the 33% global average.

“People don’t associate countries with certain generally attributed advantages and choose them on that basis,” said Sacha Knorr, co-managing director at The Network. “Instead, they opt for the destination region that most closely matches their own personal criteria for their future job choice. Companies should take advantage of this, as they can score points here with job offers that match talents’ expectations.”

The study also highlights the fact that workers who move abroad expect employers to take the lead in supporting their relocation and onboarding and to cultivate an international, inclusive culture. Nearly eight out of ten respondents expect to get help with housing (79%) as well as visa and work permit assistance (78%), and more than half count on relocation support (69%) and language support and training (54%).

“Other countries can be a great source of talent. But establishing a channel of workers from abroad requires employers to fundamentally overhaul how they recruit, relocate, and integrate talent,” said Jens Baier, managing director, senior partner and leader of BCG’s work in HR excellence. “They may have to challenge their own biases and look for talent in markets and regions that they had not previously considered. Governments also play a strong enabling role in this process. They must establish policies, incentives, and frameworks that help employers bring in the talent they need. Employers and nations that tap into such positive energy from the millions of workers with mobile aspirations will gain a major competitive advantage and source of growth.”

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