London and the UK
still top choices for
global talent

A recent report based on a study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the world’s leading management consultancies, and The Network, a global alliance of more than 50 leading recruitment websites, has found that London and the UK are second to only the USA in the mind of the global workforce when it comes to choosing an employment destination.

A survey forming part of the study, which took job seekers from 189 countries into account to learn what factors motivated them and which countries they would consider moving to, revealed that nearly two-thirds of workers globally said they would take a job abroad.

The study has commented that this is a startlingly high proportion of workers and it says a lot about the evolving marketplace for talent. ‘It’s a world in which the geographic barriers to employment are coming down, including in the minds of some of the most talented and highly-educated workers’ says Rainer Strack, a BCG senior partner and report co-author. ‘This is opening up significant opportunities for individuals and for the many countries and multinational companies that are facing talent shortages of one sort or another’.

The survey showed that these choices were not only based on work-related conditions, but also upon a cultural historical attraction and/or economic stability. Top countries to emigrate to for work-purposes, as chosen by the 200,000 survey respondents, were as follows:

  • the USA appealed to 42 per cent of job seekers in the study, making it the top choice for foreign workers;
  • the UK came in a close second with 37 per cent;
  • Canada came third with 35 per cent;
  • and Germany was fourth in line with its secure and stable economy, winning it favour with the survey respondents.

However would-be expatriates do not just think in terms of countries; they think in terms of cities as destinations, putting London first, New York second and Paris third in terms of desirability.

The study has also revealed that, beside fiscal and cultural motivations for working abroad, there is strong evidence to believe that intrinsic rewards have pushed past strictly financial considerations as the most important determinant of workplace satisfaction. Good relations with colleagues and a good work-like balance also play a large role in their emigration considerations.

The report has also commented on the mobility of certain occupations, revealing that out of all the survey respondents, people who work in engineering and technical jobs are the most likely to consider a job abroad, whereas those in more tightly regulated fields such as social work and medicine are the least mobile.

Age has a big impact on what workers look for in the workplace. People focus on career development in their twenties and on work-life balance in their thirties and forties as family responsibilities peak. As people get older, these factors fade in importance and the content of the work – its intrinsic appeal – takes precedence for most workers.

 ‘The increasing mobility of the global workforce and the shift in worker preferences has huge implications. If they fail to see what’s happening, government policy makers and HR executives at multinational companies might find themselves watching as their most gifted workers emigrate and do not return. It’ll be much better to be on the other side of that equation’. – Carsten von der Linden, a principal at The BCG and a co-author of the report

Decoding Global Talent: 200,000 Survey Responses on Global mobility and Employment Preferences

Share story