Global Survey Shows Canada Most Desirable Destination for International Workers

For the first time in eight years, the United States fell from its position as the top destination for international workers, according to a recently released annual report by consulting and recruitment agencies, reflecting the declining appeal of the country as a work destination, perhaps resulting out of “an inconsistent pandemic response, the adoption of more nationalistic policies, and social unrest,” the report says.

Canada is now the most desirable destination for international workers, according to the report by the Boston Consulting Group and The Network, which surveyed more than 200,000 individuals from 190 countries, followed by the U.S. and Australia. But the U.S. is not alone in seeing fallout resulting at least partially from its COVID-19 response and high infection rates, the report notes. Some European countries, such as Italy, France and Spain saw declines, as well, with all but France being knocked off the top-10 list.

[MORE: The 10 Most Economically Stable Countries, Ranked by Perception]

Even for European countries that have fared better in terms of controlling the virus, such as Germany, a notable decline occurred in 2020, falling from the No. 2 to the No. 4 most desirable relocation destination for work, being “tarnished by the European Union’s overall number of coronavirus cases,” the report says. Two Asia-Pacific countries have conversely seen gains in 2020, Singapore and New Zealand, being among the top-10 countries for the first time, with more successful COVID-19 responses likely playing a role, the report notes.

But a greater shift is happening globally — an overall decrease in willingness to work internationally across the board. Generally, fewer people are interested in leaving their country for international work assignments, and “these findings reflect several new factors that have penetrated the world’s consciousness and changed the workplace,” the report says. “The factors–the fallout from a difficult-to-control pandemic and a sharp rise in nationalism–have altered people’s thinking.”

Since 2014, interest in working internationally has fallen 13%, according to the report, and stands at about 50% in 2020. The decrease globally, however, may reflect the new-found prominence of remote work, as the coronavirus pandemic and tightening of national borders made its rise necessary. And although the U.S. no longer tops the most desirable relocation destination, its appeal remains among international employees, who selected the U.S. as the top country for virtual employment, signaling the prominence and appeal of U.S. companies worldwide, the report says.

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