Mar 18, 2021

Canada ranks top as destination most foreigners want to work

Kate Birch
3 min
US loses its crown to Canada, and Asia Pacific countries rise in the rankings of the most desirable destinations to work, reveals BCG's latest study
US loses its crown to Canada, and Asia Pacific countries rise in the rankings of the most desirable destinations to work, reveals BCG's latest study...

The United States has lost its crown as the place foreigners would most like to work, with Canada now regarded as the top destination, according to a recently released study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and The Network, a global alliance of more than 60 leading recruitment websites. 

The study, which has been made into a report titled Decoding Global Talent, Onsite and Virtual reveals that the pandemic, unsurprisingly, has had a major impact on people’s attitudes toward working overseas, not just leading to less interest generally but inclining them toward countries that have more successfully curtailed and contained COVID-19. 

The study, which surveyed 209,000 participants in 190 countries, reveals that just 50% of people are willing to move to another country for work, that's down from 64% in 2014 and 57% in 2018. 

And while restrictive immigration policies have certainly weakened the mobility trend, the pandemic has made people even more cautious about relocating international. And with the rise of remote working, "many may feel that they can further their careers virtually, wthout needing to move at all", says Rainer Strack, senior partner at BCG.

Top 10 rankings have all contained the pandemic

What almost all the countries that have moved up in the top ten rankings have in common is their relatively low incidence of COVID-19 cases, mainly due to the way the countries have handled it. 

This includes top-ranking Canada, whose strong coronavirus management has helped the country move ahead of the US, as well as Australia, which ranks as number three among global work destinations, and Japan, now ranked number six, having jumped four places. Furthermore, two Asia-Pacific countries that have secured public praise for their public health response, Singapore and New Zealand, appear on the list for the first time.

Besides being number one overall, Canada is also the first choice for those with master’s degrees or doctorates, for those with digital training or expertise, and for those younger than 30, all characteristics that companies and countries prize.

Concerns over the coronavirus response in Europe contributed to a decline for many previously popular European destinations. Germany and France each fell two places in the rankings, while Italy and Spain fell off the top ten list completely. 

Attitudes toward the world’s most famous cities likewise reflect their countries’ coronavirus responses. New York, Barcelona, Rome, and Madrid are now considered much less attractive as work destinations than they were in 2018. Asia Pacific countries Tokyo and Singapore have increased in attractiveness, as have Middle East destinations Dubai and Abu Dhabi. 


Welcome 'the new mobility'

But while the survey suggests less willingness to relocate to a foreign country, it does reveal a high level of enthusiasm for the model of staying in one’s home country while working for a foreign employer. Some 57% of participants say they are willing to do this, and when remote international work is the question, the US is number one once more. 

The overall openness to virtual work is especially high among people in the IT and digital fields with 71% of people with digital or analytics backgrounds saying they would be willing to work for a company with no physical presence in their own country. So did 67% of people with IT and technology backgrounds. Among people with master’s degrees or above, the willingness quotient was likewise high: about 62%.

According to Pierre Antebi, a co–managing director of The Network, hiring people from other countries is not a new practice for employers, but "the trend of remote working makes it possible to do it on a broader scale and expand the available talent pool". There’s also an upside for workers, who can advance their careers without uprooting their lives.”

The report describes the challenges companies face in offering remote international employment — including cultural integration and the securing of visas — and highlights some early solutions.


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Jun 20, 2021

5 Ways Leaders Can Create a Healthy Workplace Culture

5 min
As the world embraces Men’s Health Week, five experts advise how leaders can create a healthy workplace culture for employees

This week (14th-20th June 2021) is Men’s Health Week. Physical and mental well-being have been important considerations for leaders over the past year, and it is essential this focus is maintained as we build back for the future. Here we have asked 5 experts for practical tips leaders can implement to create healthy workplace cultures.


Know the early signs of burnout 

Recently it was reported by the BBC that burnout for health and social care staff had reached emergency levels. 

Monkey Puzzle Training Co-Founder Karen Meager has studied the burnout recovery process in partnership with Coventry University: “The past year has seen people suffer from job-loss worries, work from home challenges, isolation, and feeling overworked. These are continuing, and all have the potential to contribute towards burnout. Healthcare workers, executives, leaders, managers and small business owners will continue to be the top people to suffer from extreme burnout.”

“At the onset of burnout, people commonly enter a phase of denial. So leaders need to be aware of those who are reluctant to take their time off, are compelled to work all hours, or have changes in their behaviour or mood, as these can all be indications of burnout taking hold. Encouraging them to take a burnout self-test provides a starting point to supporting these employees through recovery, as is role modelling healthy sustainable ways of working.Karen suggests.


Encourage professional self-reflection 

Creating an environment that encourages self-reflection is an effective tool for promoting personal development. Journaling may not be something you instantly think of for professional development; however, it is a successful technique for adults to aid mindfulness and productivity. “Journaling is a form of self-expression that can empower you to understand your feelings and ambitions and how to deal with them, therefore promoting positive well-being and a healthy workplace culture,” describes Elisa Nardi, founder of Notebook Mentor


Just 15-20 minutes of journaling a day over the course of four months are enough to lessen the impact of physical stressors on your health,” explains Elisa. “It can also inspire creativity, aid your memory, and help set actionable goals. It is an underused tool that can help employees manage tricky workplace situations such as conflict, illness or new leadership roles.


Manage your stress and resilience too

As a leader or manager, often, your complete focus is on the business or protecting your team, but you cannot pour from an empty cup. Leaders should also have strategies in place to manage their own stress, so they can sustain high levels of positive energy throughout the day. “Fueled by a burning desire for success, I ignored all the warning signs of exhaustion, which eventually took its toll on me - I literally collapsed from stress, and I didn’t even see it coming.” reflects Sascha Heinemann, an expert in Performance Recovery and Stress Resilience.


“When leaders manage their energy, create healthy daily habits, and practice resilience, they are able to perform to their fullest capacity and to provide the best possible support for others.” 


“Taking a break every 90 minutes or so helps you to refuel, recharge, and re-energize and ultimately allows you to get more accomplished, in less time, at a higher level of quality, and more sustainably. This role model contributes dramatically to a healthier, more engaged, sustainable, and productive workplace culture," he adds.


Instil a sense of purpose for your team

The idea that success equals working 12-15 hour days and giving everything of yourself to your workplace continues to prevail in many organisations. This is not healthy, nor is it productive for anyone involved. “The healthiest and happiest workplace cultures are the ones that are organised around purpose.” describes business and life coach Anand Kulkarni. 


“Leaders should be giving meaning to the work they are doing within their business and beyond and sharing this purpose with their staff, rather than focusing on long hours, crippling workloads or someone else’s idea of ‘success’. When people understand why they are doing what they do and how this contributes to something greater, productivity and well-being is increased.” adds Anand. 


Promote well-being from the top down

Leaders need to act as role models if well-being is to become embedded at the very core of the organisation. It’s very unlikely that employees will start acting in a new way that puts their own needs first if the leadership team continues to behave in an entirely different manner.


‘Many organisations have worked hard in recent months to put new policies in place that better support well-being, promote hybrid working and attempt to set clear boundaries, but many leaders seem to assume that they are exempt from it all, that’s when it all falls over’, explains leadership experts Martin Boroson and Carmel Moore, from The One Moment Company. 


A recent ONS report into Homeworking in the UK revealed that people are on average working 6 hours extra per week, and many are working until late in the evening, indicating that the boundaries between work and life are more blurred than ever. 


Despite all of these wonderful opportunities for people to self-organise, if the leadership team continues to work in the office Monday to Friday, or are communicating at all hours, then it’s a clear indicator that hybrid working is simply a ‘bolt-on’ tactic rather than an integral part of the company’s approach to promoting the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.’

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