New research shows that while international relocation has slowed over the past year, job prospects continue to drive the desire for workforce mobility around the globe.
According to a recent survey with 5,026 global respondents looking at relocation trends, many people have identified job opportunities as a primary reason for making an international move. Over the past year, COVID-19 has significantly impacted individuals’ desire or ability to make an international move. However, for those who relocated internationally over the past year and more, the primary factor was job opportunities, revealing a continuing desire for workforce mobility.
While 46% of respondents identified COVID-19 as a reason for impacting the desire or ability to relocate internationally, there are some markets, such as South Africa and Hong Kong, where there was an increased desire to move as a result of the pandemic. Despite the negative impact COVID-19 has had on making international moves, 36% of respondents went ahead with their plans, citing lifted restrictions, eased concerns, or vaccinations as their reasons for doing so.
Career opportunities remain key to international relocation
The survey examined why people are relocating internationally or have done so in the past. For international relocations that occurred between December 2019 and June 2021, 31% of respondents identified “job opportunities” as the primary motivating factor, ranking first above “experiencing a new culture” (25%), “better lifestyle/standard of living” (23%), and “education or training” (23%).
When identifying reasons for a prospective move, job opportunities still rank high, coming in second behind “better lifestyle/standard of living.” Across prominent market locations such as South Africa (54%), Australia (34%), Hong Kong (32%), the United Kingdom (32%), and the United States (30%), job opportunities featured heavily as a reason for international relocation. These results represent the resilience that workforce mobility has across the globe, with individuals looking for job opportunities to make that international move.
Making the move: where people want to go
According to survey respondents, the top five countries for relocation were the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Japan, and Spain. Here’s a snapshot of regional trends for international relocation:
- Respondents living in Australia were more likely to have relocated away from their home country than any of the other regions, and they’re less likely to have returned home any time soon. Australia’s “better lifestyle” is the most cited reason (47%) for this.
- For Hong Kong respondents, 41.4% said they were moving to return to their home country, with the most common reason for moving to the city being job opportunities (32.5%). They’re also the most mobile, with around 66% having plans or considerations to move internationally.
- Economy, work and job opportunities are the top reason for South Africans relocating internationally (54.1%).
- The U.K. was the most popular global destination for relocation, or for those planning to relocate internationally (17%), going as high as 20% for Australians, 22% for respondents from Hong Kong and 24% for respondents from South Africa.
No matter where work is going, it’s clear that job opportunities around the world will continue to fuel workforce mobility. While the pandemic put a damper on moves for many, these results demonstrate that beyond the pandemic, workforce mobility will once again be fueled by demand for and desire from workers to experience work, and life, around the world.
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