London most desirable city for overseas workers as UK popularity drops

London most desirable city for overseas workers as UK popularity drops

London may be the most desirable city for overseas workers worldwide, but the UK as a whole has fallen down the desirability list, according to research from The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and totaljobs.

The Decoding Global Talent 2018 report found that London has retained its position as number one since 2014, this year chosen by 366,000 workers from nearly 200 countries.

Despite London remaining the first choice city for workers, researchers found that the UK has fallen from the second-most popular country worldwide for overseas workers to fifth since 2014, potentially exposing the impact of the Brexit vote two years ago. The US, Germany, Canada and Australia now all rank higher than Britain in terms of attractiveness.

“London’s enduring attractiveness does not appear to have been impacted by the European referendum, and the city’s cosmopolitan reputation as a welcoming, open city for overseas workers remains,” said Mike Booker, International Director at totaljobs and MD of The Network.

However, while willingness to emigrate has dipped globally, more UK residents than ever before are now prepared to move abroad for work. Six in 10 (62%) British respondents said they are open to working overseas, a figure that has increased substantially from 44% in 2014 – which is the highest percentage increase out of any country in the world.

Nearly three quarters of under 30-year olds (73%) are willing to move abroad, as well as those holding advance degrees (72%) and those from job roles related to IT, technology and research (67%).

“While international talent continues to come to London, UK workers are also broadening their horizons,” added Booker.

“With young employees and those with advanced degrees or tech backgrounds eager to move, the UK needs to look at how to retain this highly-sought after talent to address the skills gap.”

Nick South, Partner in The Boston Consulting Group’s London office, said that the research demonstrates the scale of the talent challenge facing organisations in the UK. “British workers’ willingness to work abroad has significantly increased,” he said. “This is the largest increase seen in any country globally.  Together, these two talent trends create a major challenge for the UK.

“It is critical for UK private and public-sector organisations to get on the front foot and proactively take steps to attract and retain top class talent to ensure their future success.”

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