Working abroad loses shine, but Dubai remains bright for migrants

For the first time, Dubai has been ranked as one of the top ten cities to move to for work, according to the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a management consultancy.

While London came first, and New York second, Abu Dhabi also moved sharply up the rankings. Hong Kong is another non-Western city whose popularity increased in the last four years.


The US is still the world’s most popular work destination overall.

However its attractiveness has decreased recently, amid the volatility of its national politics, to people in Mexico and to those in a dozen other countries where it was previously the number-one choice.

“Germany’s rise to the number-two spot comes at a time when other European countries, notably the UK and Switzerland, have themselves become more cautious about immigration,” BCG says.

This has cast Germany, with its “relative openness,” in a more favourable light and boosted it over its European rivals in the rankings. Germany is now three places ahead of the UK, five places ahead of France, six places ahead of Switzerland, and seven places ahead of Italy.

“Germany is turning into a real talent magnet,” said Rainer Strack, one of the authors of the study and a senior partner at BCG. “Its number-two overall ranking tells only part of the story. Germany is also number two for people under 30, people with master’s degrees and doctorates, and people with digital expertise. These are cohorts that every country wants and that are particularly important in Germany because of the demographic challenge of an ageing population.”

Political change may also explain the lower ranking of the UK now versus in 2014. The UK has fallen from second among work destinations to fifth today.

Overall, people are less likely to seek their fortune abroad, with the willingness to move overseas for work falling in the last few years, according to the BCG.

This trend is undermining one of the solutions that countries such as the UAE and Singapore use to address their workforce problems.

Alongside The Network, an alliance of over 50 recruitment websites, BCG found that, overall, workers continue to be more focused on intrinsic workplace rewards, such as those provided by good interpersonal office relationships, than on compensation.

A report based on the study, Decoding Global Talent 2018, was released on Sunday, highlighting how 57 per cent of all workers now say they would move to another country for work.

“While that is a sizeable number, it is almost 7 percentage points lower than in 2014, the last time BCG and The Network asked the question,” the pair say.

The decreased enthusiasm for emigrating is one of the more “striking findings of the study, which involved 366,000 workers and 6,000 recruiters in 197 countries and took place against a backdrop of heightened debate over immigration and trade in many countries, they add.


Nevertheless, Dubai was listed as one of the top places to move to for work.