U.S. No Longer the Top Work Destination According to New Global Workforce Study from Appcast and Boston Consulting Group

A global survey of 208,807 workforce respondents in 190 countries reveals that Canada is now the most desirable destination for international workers, while the U.S. ranks first for remote work

Appcast, the global leader in programmatic recruitment advertising technology and services, announced findings from part one of the 2021 “Decoding Global Talent” report compiled by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network and Appcast. The first in a series of three studies, the mobility report explores how COVID-19 has impacted global attitudes and preferences toward working abroad.

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Desire to Relocate to the U.S. Declines

The report found that for the first time in eight years, the U.S. lost the top spot as the most attractive destination for international workers, superseded by Canada. The desire to work in major U.S. cities also declined, with only two U.S. cities now ranking in the top 30 cities globally: New York City, falling from number two in 2018 to number eight in 2020, and Los Angeles, falling from number seven to number 12 during the same period. Seattle was the only city to rise in the ranking, moving up from number 50 in 2018 to 49 in 2020. The report speculates that mismanagement of COVID-19, racial injustice and unfriendly immigration policies in recent years impacted global workforce trends.

U.S. Employers Have Opportunities to Tap into the Global Workforce

While the global workforce is less willing to physically move to the U.S., international employees identified the U.S. as the top destination for virtual employment, highlighting the continued desire among international employees to work for American companies (albeit remotely). Canada tied with Australia (22%, respectively) for second, followed by Germany (19%) and the U.K. (17%). According to the report, workers living in Ireland are most likely to want to work remotely for an American company, followed by U.K., Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Uzbekistan, Philippines, Chile and Serbia. When it comes to physical relocation, workers in Nepal, Mexico, Uzbekistan, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Albania, Ireland and Turkey are most willing to move to the U.S. for work.

Conversely, the report also examined the willingness of U.S. workers to relocate abroad, revealing that 64% of U.S. respondents with digital & analytics job titles are most willing to work outside of the U.S., followed by science & research (58%), arts & creative (57%) and consulting (55%). When asked, “Which countries would you consider working in abroad?” the top destinations among Americans were Canada, Australia and U.K., revealing a desire to work in English-speaking countries.

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“U.S. employers looking to gain an advantage in recruiting qualified talent outside of the U.S. must be increasingly open to global talent working remotely rather than physically relocating to the U.S.,” said Chris Forman, founder and CEO of Appcast. “We’re excited to partner with BCG and The Network on this important study and look forward to unveiling additional emerging trends on the global workforce in the coming months.”

“Not surprisingly, given the pandemic, many corporations have managed a more remote workforce. There is now an opportunity to use that experience to eliminate geographic barriers to talent acquisition particularly in jobs that can be done in a fully remote manner,” said Allison Bailey, BCG managing director and senior partner. “As people really want to work for U.S. companies, there is a real opportunity for U.S. companies to capitalize on this and gain competitive advantage. Our goal with this report is to better understand the ongoing evolution of work and global employment trends, and we’re pleased to work with Appcast and The Network to deliver the North American perspective.”

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